Birthday cards sent to Northumberland miner charged with murdering his terminally ill wife in Cyprus

  • Video report by Katie Cole

Dozens of birthdays cards have been sent to a jail in Cyprus for a former miner from Northumberland accused of murdering his terminally ill wife.

David Hunter is in prison in Nicosia and is due to go on trial next month charged with murdering wife Janice at their home in Tremithousa in December 2021.

He and his lawyers claim she had wanted Mr Hunter to help her die as the pain from her blood cancer had become unbearable.

David and Janice Hunter had been together for 56 years. Credit: Family photo

Mr Hunter turned 75 on Monday 30 May and friends and former colleagues from Northumberland, where the couple once lived, have sent birthday cards to the jail.

The effort has been organised by fellow miner Barry Kent, from Lynemouth.

He said: “It’s his 75th birthday, he’s not in the best of health. I just think it will give him a boost. It’s not the best place to spend your birthday. I just hope it helps him.’

Barry Kent writes a birthday card to his friend behind bars. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Barry travelled to Paphos in April as David appeared in court.

His trial had been due to start but was adjourned until Thursday 16 June.

Barry also went to visit his friend in Cyprus Central Jail in Nicosia.

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

Barry has also been helping the couple’s daughter Lesley Hunter fundraise for her father's legal fees.

He recently hosted a fundraising evening at Ellington Welfare Club in Northumberland.

Other fellow miners say they are in support of David Hunter.

Alan White said: "We all look after each other and look out for each other. You know your gooduns and you know your baduns and Davey is a genuine bloke."

Lesley Hunter lives in Norwich and has raised £16,000 of the £30,000 needed for her father's legal fees.

Lesley Hunter with her parents David and Janice. Credit: Family photo

Lesley said she would not have been able to get through the past few months without the support of friends and colleagues back in the North East.

She said: “When it happened I felt very alone, more alone than I have ever felt in my life and I thought I was going to have fight this on my own and the people in Northumberland, even though it's a long time since we lived there have wrapped us up in this wave of love.”

Mr Hunter is being represented by the organisation Justice Abroad.

His lawyer Michael Polak had urged the Cypriot Attorney General to reduce the charge to assisting suicide but his request was rejected.

Mr Polak said: “It is hard to see how the prosecution of David Hunter for murder is in the public interest, given his age and the circumstances of this case.

"Although David is disappointed that our submissions for the charge to be changed toassisting suicide fell on deaf ears, he is steadfast and determined to defend the charge of murder.

"He is buoyed by the messages of support from those in Cyprus, the United Kingdom, and across the world and we will be doing everything we can to get David home.”

David Hunter's trial is due to begin in Paphos on 16 June.

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