David Hunter: British man guilty of manslaughter after killing wife in Cyprus

ITV News' Katie Cole reports on the verdict for British expat David Hunter

A British expat living in Cyprus has been found guilty of the manslaughter of his wife Janice.

David Hunter had admitted killing his wife at their home near Paphos in December 2021.

The former miner from Ashington, in Northumberland, had denied murder and claimed Mrs Hunter, who had blood cancer, had "begged him" to end her life and he had done so to end her suffering.

On Friday 21 July, a panel of three judges concluded Hunter was guilty of manslaughter.

David Hunter killed his wife Janice at their home in Paphos, on Cyprus, in December 2021. Credit: PA

Giving evidence in May, the 76-year-old told the District Court in Paphos that he would "never in a million years" have taken his wife's life unless she had asked him.

The couple had been together for more than 50 years and moved to Cyprus to retire. They had been living on the island for about 20 years when the tragic events of 18 December 2021 took place.

Mr Hunter, who had described his wife as his "best friend", told reporters he was "elated and happy" as he left court on Friday.

Janice Hunter, who was 74 when she died at the hands of her husband David, had blood cancer. A court heard she 'begged him' to end her life. Credit: Family

He is due to be sentenced on 27 July in Paphos.

The couple's daughter Lesley Cawthorne said she was stunned by the verdict.

She said: “I’m just genuinely stunned. I can’t believe it – I am just so pleased.

“My dad’s not a murderer. My dad’s never been a murderer. Now everybody knows that. It’s incredible. It’s just incredible. I can’t believe it.

“If it had been premeditated murder, there was no chance he’d ever see the light of day again, but this gives us a real chance.”

Michael Polak, director of Justice Abroad, said he hoped Hunter may be able to get a suspended sentence and be able to leave prison in light of the verdict.

Following the verdict, he said: “We are ecstatic with the result today. This is exactly what we were hoping for.

"This gives the court the option of a suspended sentence which we say is appropriate given the time David has already spent in custody, his age, and the tragic facts of this case."

He added: "David would like to thank everyone for their continued support in this matter which has helped us get to this point today."

Barry Kent, a friend of Hunter, said: "I'm absolutely elated. We've got the best decision we could possibly have hoped for. It was more than anyone in the courtroom hoped for. Right until the last moment we all thought it was going to be the worst outcome."

He is hoping Hunter will be allowed to leave prison when he is sentenced next week. He added: "Before he does anything else he wants to put flowers on the grave and to see Janice."

Speaking ahead of the verdict, Ms Cawthorne told ITV: "I want my dad to come home. I love my dad. I have no doubt he was trying to help my mum in the way she wanted to be helped. They were together for over 50 years, they were in love. They were happy, they had a good marriage.

"My dad is a good, good man and I want him home because that’s what my mum would want and its what I want. It’s what we need as a family."

Janice Hunter's grave in Cyprus. Credit: PA

During the trial, Hunter showed the court how he held his hands over his wife’s mouth and nose and said he eventually decided to grant his wife’s wish after she became “hysterical”.

He said: “For five or six weeks before she died she was asking me to help her. She was asking me more every day.

“In the last week she was crying and begging me. Every day she asked me a bit more intensely to do it.”

Before he finished giving evidence, he asked to address the judge, who he told: “My wife was suffering and she actually said: ‘I don’t want to live any more,’ and I still said no.

“Then she started to become hysterical. I was hoping she would change her mind. I loved her so much. I did not plan it, I swear to God.”

After giving evidence he told reporters his time in a Cypriot prison was “nothing” compared to the last six months of Janice’s life.

Hunter told the court he tried to kill himself after his wife’s death.

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