British man David Hunter who killed wife in Cyprus facing further wait as case delayed

David Hunter, 75, killed his wife Janice at their home in Cyprus in December 2021. Credit: Family.

A former miner who killed his terminally ill wife in Cyprus is facing a further delay before he is allowed to formally enter a plea to a manslaughter charge.

David Hunter, who suffocated his wife Janice at their home in Paphos on 18 December last year, appeared before a court on Monday 5 December.

Mr Hunter, who has been remanded in the country’s high security jail in Nicosia since December, heard his case has been adjourned for the sixth time.

Mr Hunter, who claims he killed his wife to end her pain from incurable blood cancer, had also tried to take his own life.

The 75-year-old, originally from Ashington, had been on trial for murder but in November his lawyers said a murder charge was "off the table" after a plea deal for manslaughter was reached with prosecutors.

Mr Hunter, who is being represented by Justice Abroad, was due to enter the plea at Paphos District Court on Monday 5 December but the three judges who will decide his fate were told mitigation statements were not ready.

An anxious and worried Mr Hunter, who looks thinner than pictures shared by his family, was in court for the short hearing, having been driven two hours in the back of a prison van from Nicosia.

Prosecutors said they needed to get approval to accept a manslaughter plea from thecountry’s top prosecutor, the Attorney General.

They said this was not possible until they had mitigation statements from Mr Hunter's defence lawyers.

The defence said they have not been able to proceed with statements as have not been given all the paperwork from prosecutors.

The case was postponed until 13 December. After a plea has been made it is expected there will then be another hearing for sentencing.

Michal Polak, lawyer for Mr Hunter, said: “We remain hopeful that David will be sentenced before Christmas. There is no precedent for this kind of case in Cyprus and the court will have to look at how sentencing is dealt with in other common law jurisdiction for cases such as this to come to a fair sentence.

"With Mr Hunter’s strong mitigation, that he was acting on his wife’s request, that he is of previous good character, and that was in a loving relationship with his wife for more than 50 years, we remain hopeful that the court may give a sentence which can be suspended.

"In Cyprus any sentence of up to three years imprisonment can be suspended.”

Mr Hunter is being supported by the couple's daughter Lesley, who has urged the Cypriot Justice system to show leniency.

Friends and former colleagues in Northumberland, where Mr Hunter was a miner for 40 years, before retiring to Cyprus with his wife, have also helped to fundraise to cover the legal costs.

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