David Hunter: Friends 'ecstatic' as former Ashington miner leaves Cyprus prison

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Friends of British expat David Hunter have spoken of their joy after the former miner was released from prison in Cyprus.

Hunter was sentenced to two years in jail for the manslaughter of his wife Janice but has been released due to time served and good behaviour.

During the trial, Hunter maintained that his wife, who had blood cancer, had asked him to end her life and he had done so to stop her suffering.

Throughout his 19-month imprisonment, Hunter has been supported by former miners and friends from Ellington Colliery near Ashington, in Northumberland.

Barry Kent, who has choreographed much of their efforts raising thousands for Hunter's legal fees, said his friend's release was the best news they could hope for.

Speaking at the Ellington Colliery Institute, where Hunter's friends gathered to hear the sentence, Mr Kent said: "It means absolutely everything.

"It is like all my Christmas' have come at once.

"I'm ecstatic so I can't even begin to think what he must be like. To see him standing there, a free man after all this time.

"It's what everybody has been fighting for."

Barry Kent has helped raise thousands for David Hunter's legal fees. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Mr Kent said Hunter was likely to stay in Cyprus in order to remain near his wife and properly start the grieving process. He has been in prison since her death and has been unable to visit her grave.

"His first journey in freedom is up to that cemetery, to make his peace with Janice," he said. "I think he will spend quite a bit of time there before he comes back to see his friends."

In the meantime, Mr Kent stressed that Hunter would still have the support of all of those in Ellington and urged him to speak to them if he ever needed any help.

David Hunter will get to visit his wife's grave for the first time since her death. Credit: Family

"He hasn't had a chance to grieve at all," Mr Kent explained. "He has got a lot to come to terms with.

He's not going to find it easy but he's got the support, he's got his family and he's got his friends here and in Cyprus.

"He's been told, don't suffer in silence, come to us."

Speaking outside the court in Paphos on Monday, Hunter thanked his supporters.

A visibly emotional Mr Hunter said: “I’d like to say thank you to all the people who’ve donated to me, and especially my mates and my workmates. I don’t know where I would be without them.”

The former miner added: “When you work in a colliery, you’re a family.”

Asked how he was feeling, Mr Hunter said: “I can’t describe it. I’m sorry. I wish I could, I wish I could find words to describe it but I can’t.

“When you’re under pressure for two years, not knowing which way it’s going to go.”

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