Ashington man David Hunter describes life in a Cypriot jail as he stands trial for murder

David Hunter is standing trial charged with the murder of his wife Janice. Credit: Family photo

A Northumberland miner who's standing trial accused of murdering his terminally ill wife has described the last nine months of his life in a Cypriot jail.

David Hunter, 75, is charged with murdering his wife Janice at their home in Paphos in December 2021. She was diagnosed with blood cancer five years earlier.

Mr Hunter tried to take his own life and spent two weeks in intensive care following the incident.

A trial, which has been delayed twice, got underway at Paphos District Court on Monday 18 September.

His lawyers have previously tried to reduce the charge to one of assisting suicide, claiming he acted out of love and to end her suffering.

Before the hearing started, Mr Hunter, who had move to Cyprus from Ashington in 2002, spoke to reporters about his time in jail.

He has spent nine months in prison and sleeps in a bunk bed in a room with 11 other inmates.

He told reporters he fills his days reading from the prison library and has recently got a television, which he and his fellow prisoners use to watch Greek cartoons.

He said: "I chat to Janice every night, I just can’t believe it and she has gone."

Lesley Hunter, the couple’s daughter, who's unable to travel to Cyprus due to health issues, said the last nine months has been difficult.

Speaking from her home in Norwich, she said: "Things are very difficult for us as a family.

"Nine months of anxiety has taken a massive toll on me but nothing will change my love or support for my dad."

Barry Kent and Sally-Anne Silver-Stagge walking out of court following the hearing. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Mr Hunter was supported in court by friend and former colleague, Barry Kent.

Mr Kent who worked at Ellington Colliery in Northumberland, travelled to Pathos for a third time, having attended previous hearings in April and June.

He has also helped the couple's daughter Lesley fundraise to pay for legal fees.

Describing the support from home as "crazy", Mr Hunter said: "You’ve got to have worked down the pit to realise what real friends are."

Mr Kent had a bundle of unopened birthday cards, which was passed to Mr Hunter's lawyer before the hearing got underway.

He had posted the cards to the prison in Nicosia for Hunter's 75th birthday in May, but they were returned a few weeks later.

Also in court to support Mr Hunter was Sally-Anne Silverwood-Stagge, who lives in Tremithousa.

Mrs Silverwood-Stagge had never met the couple but helped to organise Mrs Hunter’s funeral after hearing what had happened.

Speaking after the hearing she said: "I hadn’t met David until now and it’s all just so sad. He looked tired and sad. It was emotional to see him in court. It’s all just so tragic.

"I don’t think he deserves to be in jail and for it to have dragged on as long as it has. He doesn’t deserve to spend the rest of his life in jail."

The trial continues.

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