A retired British miner who killed his terminally ill wife after she “cried and begged” him to do it could be released from prison after Cypriot judges acquitted him of her murder.
David Hunter, 76, was found guilty of manslaughter for killing his wife of 52 years, Janice, while she was dying of blood cancer in December 2021.
Janice, who was 74, suffocated to death at her home near the seaside resort town of Paphos.
Hunter denied premeditated murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence.
He will be sentenced on July 27.
Michael Polak, director of Justice Abroad, told the PA news agency that he could get a suspended sentence and be released from prison in light of the verdict.
‘She was my best friend’
In May, Hunter broke down in tears when he told his trial that “never in a million years” would he have taken Janice’s life unless she had asked him to.
He added: “She wasn’t just my wife, she was my best friend.”
He showed the court how he covered his wife’s mouth and nose with his hands and said he finally decided to grant his wife’s wish after she went “hysterical”.
Hunter, from Ashington in Northumberland, said: “For five or six weeks before she died, she asked me to help her. She asked me more every day.
“In the last week she was crying and begging me. Every day she asked me a little more intensely for her to do it ”.
‘My wife was suffering’
Before finishing his statement, he asked to address the judge, to whom he told: “My wife was suffering and she actually said: ‘I don’t want to live anymore’, and I still said no.
“Then she started to get hysterical. He hoped that she would change her mind. He loved her so much. I didn’t plan it, I swear to God.”
After testifying, he told reporters that his time in a Cypriot prison was “nothing” compared to the last six months of Janice’s life.
Hunter told the court that he tried to commit suicide after his wife’s death.
At the trial, the prosecution said that “he had decided to kill her and there was no common consent.”
During closing speeches in June, his defense team said this was not a case of premeditated murder and that Hunter “acted spontaneously” to end his wife’s life “when she begged him to.”
They also argued that a confession he allegedly made when he was arrested should not have been used against him, claiming that he was suffering from dissociation at the time.
A judge found that Hunter was lucid and dismissed the application.
On Wednesday, the couple’s daughter, Lesley Cawthorne, told the PA news agency that her father is “anxious, tired and lonely” and that the last “19 months have taken their toll on him”.
She added: “I think hope has been squashed out of him.
“I would probably tell other people that he’s keeping his chin up, but I see how much he’s struggling.”
A panel of three judges delivered the verdict after a lengthy trial.