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British man accused of murdering his terminally ill wife after 56 years together 'terrified' ahead of trial in Cyprus

His daughter said that a British man is being “terrified” by the possibility of facing trial for murdering his wife, a terminally ill, in Cyprus. She expressed fears that he would die behind bars if convicted.

David Hunter will appear in court Thursday to face charges regarding Janice Hunter’s death at their Flat on the Island last December.

She was allegedly drowned by Hunter, who tried to kill himself by overdosing but survived.

After a request to have an alternative charge of “assisting suicide” rejected, the 75-year-old former miner faces a life sentence.


Sky News spoke to the couple’s daughter before the trial. She said that her father is haunted by the memories of her mother screaming in pain during her fight with terminal blood cancer.

Lesley Cawthorne now urges the Cypriot judges preside over the case to show compassion, saying: “My father is not a danger to society.”

She stated that her father had told her what happened, and she has no reason to doubt him or believe anything else than the truth.

“My mum made all her wishes known and my dad supported her.

She just wanted it all to end. She did not want to fight. She did not want treatment.

She didn’t want to die a slow, painful death. She was tired and just wanted to go.

Image: David Hunter, accused of the murder of Janice Hunter in Cyprus, is on trial. Pic: Lesley Cawthorne

“She couldn’t get upstairs to bed every night”

After their retirement, Mr. and Mrs. Hunter had moved to Cyprus 20-years ago. They had been married for 56 years.

However, in her later years Mrs Hunter – a former worker in a corner shop – was in extreme pain from her health problems and her “quality-of-life was markedly decreased” according to her daughter.

Sky News spoke to Mrs Cawthorne: “I didn’t really know how terrible things were.”

“My dad told me that they were very dark. She was in great pain.

She had rheumatoid arthritis which caused her severe pain and limited her mobility.

She had cataracts, a growth on her ovaries was removed, her appendix was removed, and she underwent knee replacement surgery. She also had skin cancer on her hands.

“She was in very poor health. It was a series of things after another.”

Mrs Cawthorne lives in Norwich and said that her father had called her mother’s quality life in her last weeks “non-existent.”

Image: Janice Hunter and David Hunter are pictured together on Janice’s wedding day. They were married for 56 years. Pic: Lesley Cawthorne

Mrs Cawthorne stated, “She couldn’t make it upstairs to sleep each night.”

They would often lie side-by-side in their armchairs.

“She suffered from chronic diarrhoea, so my dad used to make her nappies with towels.

“Because she was in so much pain, she couldn’t sleep well.”

“She found it difficult to swallow, so it was hard for her to eat and drink. This obviously had an impact on her energy levels.

“In the past few days, her eyesight began to fade.

“Things were extremely bad.”

Image Janice Hunter and David were together for 56 years

“It’s been an absolute nightmare”

On 18 December, Mr. and Mrs. Hunter were discovered at their house in Tremithousa, Paphos.

Mrs Cawthorne stated that she learned the truth from her uncle, who informed her that her mother had passed away and that her father, who was still in intensive care, had tried to kill himself.

She said, “I was devastated.”

“It felt as if the ground was under me.

“It was terrible because at that time, I didn’t know if my father was still alive.”

Mrs Cawthorne stated that it took nearly 24 hours for her to be able to confirm her father’s survival.

She added, “It was really traumatizing.”

“I believed the worst. “I thought my dad had likely died. It was horrible.

“Life has been horrible for the last five months. It’s been a living nightmare.

After Hunter was accused of murdering his wife, Hunter’s lawyers wrote to the Cypriot Attorney General to request that the charge be reduced to suicide aid. However, the request was denied.

Image: Lesley Cawthorne (L), pictured with her parents in Italy’s Lake Garda, 1988. Pic: Lesley Cawthorne

Shared prison cell with 11 men

His daughter stated that Hunter, who pleaded not guilty in the murder case, has been held behind bars for more than five years. He was awaiting trial with up to eleven other men.

She also stated that her father’s emotional state is “very, very fragile.”

She said, “He finds it really and really painful to discuss.”

“He is literally haunted by the memories of her screaming in pain (during his illness) in his dreams.

“He is really traumatized.

“He misses his mum so much. It’s almost like a lifetime, fifty-six years.

It’s almost like he is missing a limb. He doesn’t know what he would do without her.

“He’s totally lost without my mom there.

“He is in a very bad place.

“He is very lonely… He’s scared.”

Image For 20 years, the Hunters lived in Cyprus

“He won’t live 10 to 15 years in prison”

Mrs Cawthorne, who talks to her father twice daily on the phone, is unable to attend her trial because of her own heart condition as well as her fear of flying.

He faces a mandatory life sentence for murder conviction, according to her. Justice Abroad says the minimum term is 12 year.

Mrs Cawthorne said, “He won’t survive 10 to 15 year in prison.”

“He is terrified… he is very, very scared.”

Three judges will hear the trial on Thursday and Friday. Additional hearings are expected in the coming weeks.

Mrs Cawthorne sent a direct message to judges presidering over the case. She stated: “I understand their culture and their beliefs, and we have immense respect for Cyprus because it gave me and my parents a wonderful retirement.

“But they should find the courage to show compassion to me and my families, and let me get my dad back, then they would be doing my family an immense favor and we’d forever be in their debt.”

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Mrs Cawthorne stated that she hoped her dad would be allowed to leave court after the trial, so he could spend the rest of the time with his family.

She added that “miners don’t tend make old bones.”

“He spent 40 years in the pit. He was not in the best health.

“He is not a danger to anyone.” My dad isn’t a danger to society.

Defense lawyers argue that David Hunter should not be convicted of murder

Barister Michael Polak is the director of Justice Abroad, which supports Mr Hunter. He said that defence lawyers would urge the judges not to convict the Briton.

He claimed that he had written a 14-page request based on international case law, to argue that Hunter shouldn’t be charged with murder.

He said that he received a two paragraph reply from the Cypriot attorney General rejecting his request. No reasons were given.

Mr. Polak stated that he was surprised by the decision and said: “It’s quite obvious to anyone who examines the case that it isn’t a case in which murder is the most appropriate offense.”

He stated that there has never been an instance of euthanasia in Cyprus.

“It would have been great if the attorney General changed his mind about the charging decision,” Mr. Polak stated.

“If he doesn’t want to do that, then we’ll fight him the trial. David is determined to fight the case.”

“He doesn’t see himself as a murderer.

We don’t believe David should spend the rest his life in prison in Cyprus. He is a decent man. He was married for many years to his wife. They had a loving relationship for more than 50 years.

“No one, even those in Cyprus that I have spoken to, thinks he should be tried for murder.”

Samaritans can help anyone who is feeling suicidal or emotionally distressed. Call 116 123 in the UK or email [email protected] to get help. For assistance in the USA, contact the Samaritans Branch nearest you or call 1 (800) 273-TALK.


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