Friend of Northumberland man facing murder trial in Cyprus says charge should be assisted suicide

  • Video report by Katie Cole

The friend of Northumberland man David Hunter, who is facing a murder trial in Cyprus says it would be an 'injustice' if the charge isn't changed to assisted suicide.

David Hunter, a former miner from Ashington has denied murdering wife Janice at their flat in Paphos in December.

His lawyers say Janice had 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.

This week, a letter will be given to the Cypriot Attorney General general asking for the charge to reduced to assisted suicide. 

“He’s crying, he’s upset, it’s not justice if Davey Hunter goes down for murder," said Barry Wake, friend and former colleague of Hunter.

"Justice for us is for the authorities to realise he is not a threat. He has done what he has done out of compassion.

"The situation there during lockdown is actually worse than what it is in this country. I got the impression even if he wanted to reach out he couldn’t. You had to get permission to leave the house for medical stuff, a little bit of shopping. 

"By all accounts the pain Janice was in is absolutely awful.

"You’ve got to have compassion. He is an old man and he is not very well himself. If he goes down for murder he is going to die in jail.

"He is going to die a lonely old man."

David Hunter during his time working in the mines in the North East. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

David and Janice Hunter, originally from Ashington, had been married for 56 years had moved to Cyprus when David retired from Ellington Colliery almost 20 years ago.

On 10 February, he entered a not guilty plea to the charge of murder at Paphos District Court. 

A trial has been set for 18 April although his barrister, Michael Polak from the Justice Abroad organisation, hopes it doesn’t come to that. 

He said: “In this case we will be saying to the Attorney General of Cyprus who is the top prosecutor over there that this should be charged with assisting suicide rather than murder case.

"The family enjoy the support of people across the UK and in Cyprus. I think people can relate to a case like this.

"We all think what would happen if we were in similar positions. We all have elderly relatives. We all wonder what would happen if we ended up in a really painful situation. 

"Everyone I have spoken to in the UK and Cyprus say he should not be going to spend his life in prison for murder.”

David and Janice Hunter's daughter Lesley Cawthorne has launched a Crowd Justice campaign to pay for Mr Hunter's legal costs.

The appeal has a target of £6,000. Many of David’s former mining colleagues in Northumberland have donated. 

Lesley said: “We've been so genuinely touched by all the support. As a family, we're in a very dark place and the love and support we've received has kept us afloat.

"Times are so tough for many and yet people have been incredibly generous.

"Every penny donated means the world to us and could be the difference between bringing my dad home or him ending his days alone in a foreign prison."

The prison in Cyprus where David Hunter is being held. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees