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Appeal begins against Briton who killed wife

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A British pensioner found guilty of the manslaughter of his seriously ill wife returned to court, as the state prosecution appealed the verdict and sentence as lenient.

David Hunter, 76, was found guilty of manslaughter in July after he killed his wife, Janice, in their Paphos home in December 2021.

He was jailed for two years but, with time served, was released on the same day the sentence was passed.

At a hearing on Tuesday at the Appeal Court in Nicosia, prosecutors were given two months to prepare legal arguments and Hunter’s defence team were told they would have two months to respond.

A date to decide on the appeal will then be made and is expected to be in April or May next year.

Michael Polak from UK-based Justice Abroad, the organisation representing Hunter, said they will fight the decision by the attorney general to stop him going back to prison.

Polak said: “If they make a decision in line with what the prosecution is asking and substitute murder for the manslaughter that David was found guilty of, it would result in him spending the rest of his life in prison in Cyprus.

“It’s obviously a very big thing for him, but we hope that it will go the right way, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that he doesn’t go back to prison.”

He added: “It was a bit of a shock when the attorney general made the decision to bring this appeal.

“We’re not sure why that decision was made, given all the circumstances of the case.

“We’re confident that we can put forward very strong arguments so we can say the trial court is the best court to consider all the evidence.

“The appeals court shouldn’t overrule their decision because they spent days and days and days hearing the evidence in the case, and they came to a very well-reasoned decision.”

A former Northumberland miner, Hunter retired to Cyprus with his wife Janice when the pits closed.

In Cyprus, a largely Orthodox Christian country where euthanasia is taboo, the case is unprecedented as there is no law on assisted suicide.

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 repeated blood transfusions for cancer, Hunter said she repeatedly told him to end her life.

His defence lawyers had asked the attorney general to reduce the charges to assisted suicide, which was denied.

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

He attempted to take his own life by overdosing on prescription pills and alcohol before being found by police.