Northumberland man accused of murdering wife in Cyprus calling for assisted suicide charge

David Hunter is accused of killing his 75-year-old wife Janice at their flat in Paphos, Cyprus Credit: PA

A retired North East miner has denied murdering his wife in Cyprus as his lawyers seek to have the charge changed to assisting suicide.

British man David Hunter, 74, originally from Northumberland, is in custody facing trial in April accused of killing his 75-year-old wife Janice at their flat in Paphos in December.

His lawyers said they had been together for 56 years, but Mrs Hunter was suffering from terminal blood cancer and had wanted to die.

They said her husband tried to take his own life but survived and was charged with murder.

Hunter entered a not guilty plea to a charge of murder at Paphos District Court on Thursday, February 10.

British barrister Michael Polak, from the Justice Abroad organisation representing Hunter, said: "We will be writing to the Cypriot attorney general asking for him to consider an alternative charge of assisting suicide in this case.

"At a time when the Parliament of Cyprus is discussing the legalisation of euthanasia, and given the circumstances in this case, we will be submitting that assisting suicide would be a much more appropriate charge than murder which carries a mandatory life sentence."

The couple's daughter, Lesley Cawthorne, has launched an online crowdfunding campaign on the Crowd Justice website to raise money for her father's defence.

She said in a statement: "My dad devoted himself to caring for my mum.

"We love him very much and want to help him in any way possible.

"That's why we need help to pay for the legal representation which will give him the best chance possible of being allowed to return to the United Kingdom to the people who love him and who can support him through his grief.

"My father is in the latter stages of his life and we just want him to be with us."

A spokeswoman said the Cypriot Law Office was not able to comment on pending cases.