Police officers give evidence in trial of David Hunter in Cyprus

David Hunter returns to court in Cyprus Credit: PA

A police officer has described the moment a man from Northumberland showed him how he killed his terminally ill wife in Cyprus.

The murder trial of 75-year-old David Hunter has resumed in Paphos after prosecutors refused to accept a guilty manslaughter plea.

Mr Hunter, a former miner , has spent more than a year in jail for killing his wife Janice. He claims it was an act of love for his childhood sweetheart who had incurable blood cancer.

During a court hearing in December, after months of postponements, Mr Hunters lawyers said prosecutors had gone back on a deal for him to plead guilty to manslaughter and his murder trial restarted.

David and Janice Hunter, who moved to Cyprus in 2002, had been married for 52 years. Credit: Family

Janice Hunter was found dead at the couple's home in Paphos in December 2021. Mr Hunter had also tried to take his own life and was taken to hospital where he spent 2 weeks in intensive care.

Today, three police officers who had attended the scene that night gave evidence as part of 'a trial within a trial'.

Mr Hunter's lawyers want his confession and statements given to the police and doctors that night thrown out of court, as they say, his rights were not followed in-line with him being a police suspect.  

Police officer Kypros Kangelis told the court: "I asked David what happened. He told me he took her life and the reason was to stop her suffering and he showed with his hands that he closed her mouth and nose."

Mr Hunter's defence lawyer Nicoletta Charalambidou asked another officer, Vaso Charalambous, how she confirmed Mr Hunter had realised what his rights were.

Ms Charalambous said: "He didn't clearly say he did not want a lawyer. He wanted to stay silent. It's his right, he didn't want to say anything".

Ms Charalambidou then said: "You didn't give him the right to a translator."

She replied: "Mr Hunter understood everything I was telling him."

Following the trial, Ms Charalambidou said: “It’s a good development that we have this trial within the trial and we have convinced the court that all statements made not only to the police, but to the doctor and the ambulance officer, had to be excluded in case they were not taken in accordance with the law.

The prosecution have brought three police officers to court today [to testify] about the statements taken and they believe all his rights were granted. We believe his rights as a suspect and accused were violated as he did not have a lawyer.”

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

Mr Hunter first appeared in court in February 2022 to deny murder. Almost a year on, he is still no clearer on what his future holds.

Today as he waited in court David said: "I just miss my wife very much. I wouldn't have done it if she hadn't asked. I am nervous and tired of coming and going to court."

The case was adjourned until 17 January 2023 and prosecutors say they expect the trial to last until Easter.

David Hunter is expected to give evidence as part of the trial.

The Hunters' daughter Lesley, who has been fundraising to pay for her father's legal fees, said today: “ We are worn down and drained by the last 13 months of being caught up in the Cypriot Justice system and want this to be over.”

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