David Hunter found not guilty of murdering terminally-ill wife in Cyprus but convicted of manslaughter

David Hunter has been found not guilty of the murder of his terminally-ill wife in Cyprus – but he was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Janice Hunter, 74, died of asphyxiation in December at the couple’s retirement home near the coastal resort of Paphos.

Hunter, a 76-year-old retired coal miner from Northumberland, admitted killing his wife but denied murder.

He told a Cyprus court that she had blood cancer and “begged him” to end her life.

Hunter’s confession was earlier deemed as having been lawfully obtained and was allowed to be used in evidence against him, despite opposition from the defence.

A plea deal between the prosecution and defence to reduce the murder charge to manslaughter also collapsed last year after prosecutors would not accept Hunter’s claim that his wife asked him to end her life unless he provided proof.

Undated family handout file photo of David Hunter, 74, and Janice Hunter 75, on their wedding day. Mr Hunter is expected to give evidence during his trial in Paphos, Cyprus, over death of his wife Janice, 74, who died of asphyxiation in December 2021 at the couple's retirement home near the coastal resort town. Issue date: Monday May 15, 2023.

Image: David Hunter and wife Janice Hunter in their wedding day

A three-judge panel delivered the verdict in Paphos on Friday.

During the trial, a judge dismissed the defence’s application to call a forensic psychiatrist to give evidence, who said that Hunter was suffering from dissociation at the time of the incident.

The grave of Janice Hunter at the cemetery in Tremithousa, Cyprus. David Hunter, from Northumberland is appearing at Paphos District Court in Cyprus, where he is accused of murdering his terminally ill wife, Janice Hunter, in Cyprus. Picture date: Monday May 15, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story COURTS Cyprus. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Image: The grave of Janice Hunter at the cemetery in Tremithousa, Cyprus

The court found Hunter was lucid at the time and was aware of what was happening, demonstrated by the fact he took pills and called his brother after killing his wife.

The couple’s daughter Lesley Cawthorne said the last “19 months has taken a huge toll” on her father.

She said the family has been “worn down” by the long trial and the rulings made by the judges.

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