Northumberland pensioner accused of killing sick wife will face trial in June

The trial of a Northumberland man who is accused of murdering his terminally ill wife has been adjourned.

By Amanda Bourn
Monday, 18th April 2022, 11:16 am
Updated Monday, 18th April 2022, 1:18 pm
Janice and David Hunter, who had been together for 56 years.

Former miner David Hunter, from Ashington, appeared in court in Cyprus earlier today.

His wife Janice, 75, had blood cancer and was found dead at the home they shared in the village of Tremithousa in Paphos on December 18 last year.

The court was told that following his arrest, Hunter, 74, gave two statements to police in which he said: “Janice had told me ‘I don’t want to live anymore’.”

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Janice and David Hunter on their wedding day.

The pair had been together for 56 years, having met and fallen in love when they were teenagers.

Hunter’s legal team had written to the Cypriot attorney general to ask that the murder charge be changed to assisting suicide, and claimed it was not in the public interest for the pensioner, 74, to face trial.

However, the team did not receive a reply. The trial was therefore due to get underway today but has been put off until June 16 so more evidence can be gathered by prosecutors and Hunter’s defence team.

The couple, who were grandparents, retired to Paphos 20 years ago.

David and Janice Hunter. They had been teenage sweethearts.

Cypriot Police say Janice had been suffocated and was found dead in an armchair. Hunter was discovered partially sedated after attempting to take his own life and spent two weeks in intensive care before being transferred to prison and charged with murder.

He first appeared in court in February where he denied murder, and was remanded to a jail in Nicosia.

Hunter claims his wife's final days were spent in unbearable pain and she had begged him to end her life.

The case will be heard in front of three judges who said today that due to the seriousness of the alleged crime, he should be remanded in custody.

David and Janice Hunter with their daughter Lesley, left.

Janice and David Hunter’s daughter Lesley Cawthorne has launched a Crowdfunding campaign to help pay for her father’s legal fight.

She said: “My dad devoted himself to caring for my mum. We love him very much and want to help him in any way possible.

"That's why we need help to pay for the legal representation which will give him the best chance possible of being allowed to return to the United Kingdom to the people who love him and who can support him through his grief.

"My father is in the latter stages of his life, and we just want him to be with us.”

A happy family album snap of David and Janice Hunter at Christmas.

The Cypriot parliament is discussing whether to legalise euthanasia, a taboo subject among the majority Greek Orthodox community of the island.

Hunter is represented by Justice Abroad, run by international lawyer Michael Polak.

Mr Polak said: "We put together lengthy submissions to the attorney general, drawing on law and guidance from other jurisdictions explaining why a prosecution for murder was inappropriate in the circumstances of this case.

"We were informed by the prosecution that the submissions have been rejected, but no reasoning was given in the letter."

To make a donation to the Crowdfunding appeal, go to https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/help-bring-david-home