A British man accused of murdering his terminally ill wife in Cyprus wept in court as his trial got underway. David Hunter, 75, has appeared in court after he was charged with the murder of his wife Janice at their home in Paphos in December 2021.
The couple had moved to Cyprus to retire but Mrs Hunter, 75, fell ill there with leukaemia.
Mr Hunter, a retired coal miner, is alleged to have suffocated Janice before taking an overdose of prescription pills, however he was found and survived.
He faces a life sentence unless the charge is reduced to assisted dying.
Mr Hunter, from Northumberland, insists it was his wife’s wish to die, saying she “wanted it to end”.
His lawyer, Michael Polak, told Sky News Mr Hunter was “upset” and tearful during the start of the trial at Paphos District Court.
The couple retired to Cyprus from Ashington in 2002 before Mrs Hunter was diagnosed with terminal blood cancer in 2016.
Mr Hunter’s lawyers had tried to get the murder charge reduced to one of assisting suicide, claiming he acted out of love and to end her suffering.
But this was rejected by the Cypriot Attorney General.
Speaking ahead of the hearing, Mr Hunter told reporters: “She wasn’t just my wife she was my best friend. It’s like a black hole.
“I used to think I could never imagine life without Janice but it’s just so much harder. I just live day to day. I have to keep my chin up.
“Janice’s sister had died from leukaemia and she saw what was coming. She made me promise her if she ever got it to help her. She said I don’t want to go through that. She knew the symptoms and saw them coming.”
During the hearing, police officer Savvas Stelikos said Mr Hunter had answered the door and told him: “I’ve killed my wife and tried to commit suicide.”
Police gathered evidence from the couple’s house on December 18 where they found an empty bottle of pills, clothes, and a mobile phone.
Mr Hunter was rushed to hospital in Paphos by ambulance where he spent time in intensive care before being transferred to a mental health hospital for 10 days.
Investigating officer Christoforus Christoforou said Mr Hunter’s state of mind had been assessed by doctors but he could not remember whether it had happened before or after he gave a statement.
The court heard how there was no translator or lawyer for Mr Hunter, with police insisting the 75-year-old did not want one.
But Mr Hunter’s defence refutes this.
Mr Polak said: “He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for 10 days afterwards.
“He didn’t have any interpretation during any of it – no lawyer, no interpretation. That’s particularly worrying.
“You have to look at the case as a whole and you can see things haven’t been done in the way as you might wish them to have been done.
“Interviewing someone after their wife has died, without a lawyer, is not ideal.”
The trial was adjourned on Monday afternoon until Thursday.
Mr Hunter will face a life sentence in Cyprus for a murder charge, while assisted suicide carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The trial continues.
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