Brit who admitted killing terminally ill wife in Cyprus found not guilty of murder
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A British man who killed his terminally ill wife in Cyprus has been cleared of murder, but was convicted on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
David Hunter, 76, suffocated 74-year-old Janice Hunter at their home near Paphos in December 2021.
He told the court that his wife of 52-years had been diagnosed with blood cancer and had ‘begged’ him to help end her life.
Hunter maintained that his wife’s death had been an assisted suicide.
At trial, the prosecution had claimed Hunter had ‘decided to kill her and there was no common consent’.
In a court in Paphos today (Friday 21 July), three judges found him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
During his trial in May, Hunter broke down in tears as he told his trial that he would ‘never in a million years’ have taken Janice’s life unless she had asked him to.
He added: “She wasn’t just my wife, she was my best friend.”
Hunter, from Ashington in Northumberland, said: “For five or six weeks before she died she was asking me to help her. She was asking me more every day. In the last week she was crying and begging me. Every day she asked me a bit more intensely to do it.”
Before he finished giving evidence, he asked to address the judge, who he told: “My wife was suffering and she actually said: ‘I don’t want to live any more,’ and I still said no.
“Then she started to become hysterical. I was hoping she would change her mind. I loved her so much. I did not plan it, I swear to God.”
Following the verdict director of Justice Abroad Michael Polak told reporters: “The court accepted evidence that … on that morning she asked him to end her life.”
Speaking to PA, Polak said Hunter may be able to get a suspended sentence and be able to leave prison in light of the verdict.
Earlier this week, the couple’s daughter Lesley Cawthorne told the PA that her dad was ‘anxious, tired and lonely’ and that the past ‘19 months has taken a huge toll on him’.
She added: “I think the hope has been crushed out of him. He would probably tell other people he’s keeping his chin up but I see how much he’s struggling.”