Murder trial of David Hunter accused of killing wife in Cyprus starts as plea change rejected

David Hunter, 75, is accused of murdering his wife Janice at their home in Cyprus. Credit: Family

The murder trial of a man accused of killing his wife has resumed after prosecutors rejected his application to plead guilty to manslaughter.

David Hunter, 75, is accused of murdering his wife Janice, who died on 18 December last year at their home in Paphos.

Mr Hunter, who has admitted ending his wife's life to end her suffering, had hoped a plea of manslaughter would be accepted by prosecutors in Cyprus.

However that has been rejected and a murder trial is underway in Paphos.

His lawyer Michael Polak, a barrister for Justice Abroad, said: "It's very disappointing. And it seems like they're treating this criminal case like a game. It's not a game and it's a very serious case.

"So we're very disappointed about that and the way it's come about. We've put this back weeks and weeks for these agreements and then to to have fall apart and go back on what they agreed is quite upsetting. But we push on. We fight for justice for David."

Janice Hunter, who was diagnosed with terminal leukaemia in 2016, died in December 2021. Credit: Family Photo

Mr and Mrs Hunter had been together for 56 years and moved from Ashington in Northumberland to Cyprus 20 years ago.

Mrs Hunter was diagnosed with terminal leukaemia in 2016.

Mr Hunter's friend Barry Kent has been supporting him both in Cyprus and at home in Lynemouth, near Ellington colliery where they both worked as miners.

He said: "I mean, devastation doesn't even begin to tackle it. It's absolutely horrendous. And not only the fact that everybody's been led to believe that the murder charge was off the table.

"Now we find it's back. Now I'm lost for words to what it's going to do to him mentally. But I just wouldn't know where to start. You know, I must be feeling that much of what David's feeling and just horrendous"

Mr Hunter's daughter Lesley says she is devastated by today's development, but is grateful for the support the family have had.

Mr Kent added: "Leslie's absolutely broken. Absolutely broken. I just can't express the gratitude from Leslie myself and, of course, from David. David said, 'please thank everybody'. He said 'I'm amazed at the support I've had. But thank you so much'."

Among those giving evidence today was Christofi Petrou, who leads the local community council and told the court that Mr Hunter was a friend who had a loving relationship with his wife.

Mr Hunter will be back in court on Thursday when the case is due to continue.

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