Landmark verdict in wife murder trial July 21

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A retired British miner accused of killing his wife suffering from blood cancer, will hear the judges’ verdict on July 21 after closing arguments at Paphos Assize Court on Thursday.

David Hunter, 76, is standing trial, accused of the premeditated murder of his 74-year-old wife, Janice, on December 18, 2021.

His defence argues it was done out of love and mercy and not for any selfish reasons.

Hunter has told the criminal court that he reluctantly ended his wife’s life after she persistently “begged” him to do so.

“This remains a tragic case.

“Janice and David were loving partners for over 50 years and enjoyed their retirement together in Cyprus until she became ill and was in excruciating pain,” said UK lawyer Michael Polak of Justice Abroad handling the case.

After Thursday’s hearing, he added, “She continuously asked him to end her life; however, he hoped she would get better.

“David finally acted when begged again because of the pain he could see her in and out of love for her.

“The elements required for premeditation are not present in this case.

“We remain hopeful that David will receive a verdict that does not deny him a chance of leaving prison and returning home.”

Towards the end of her life, Hunter said his wife, Janice,  was so unwell that she could no longer walk upstairs, and they had to sleep in a lounge chair downstairs.

During her suffering from blood transfusions because of blood cancer, she repeatedly told him to end her life, Hunter said.

His defence lawyers had asked the Attorney General to reduce the charges to assisted suicide which was denied.

It is described as a landmark case for Cyprus which has no law on euthanasia.

In closing submissions, the defence argued why this was not a premeditated murder carrying a mandatory life sentence.

They said the evidence demonstrates that David acted spontaneously to end his wife’s life of over 50 years, upon her begging him to do so because of her pain.

State prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou argued that any suggestion the couple made a pact to end her life implied a form of premeditation.

He also stated that the postmortem report suggested that Janice struggled when suffocated, suggesting she hadn’t surrendered to her fate.

The prosecution also reminded the court that the haematologist who treated Janice said she did not have leukaemia and her condition was not life-ending.

Ourania Seimeni had testified that Janice had MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), a rare type of blood cancer that was not terminal but could lead to leukaemia.

Janice Hunter was suffocated by her husband at their Paphos home in Tremithousa, where shortly afterwards, David tried to commit suicide.