David Hunter has been cleared of murdering his terminally ill wife in Cyprus but found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Janice Hunter, 74, died of asphyxiation at the couple’s retirement home near Paphos in December 2021.
Hunter, a 76-year-old former coal miner from Northumberland, admitted killing his wife but denied murder.
The couple’s daughter, Lesley Cawthorne, told Sky News: “I’m incredibly relieved that it’s manslaughter rather than murder.
“It’s the best we could have hoped for in the circumstances and I really hope the judges can extend their compassion and be lenient in their sentencing.”
In May, Hunter broke down as he testified he would “never in a million years” have killed Janice unless she had asked him to.
“She wasn’t just my wife, she was my best friend,” he said.
“For five or six weeks before she died she was asking me to help her. She was asking me more every day,” he said.
“In the last week she was crying and begging me. Every day she asked me a bit more intensely to do it.”
He said he had hoped she would change her mind, but that he finally complied and covered her mouth and nose after she became “hysterical”.
Hunter’s confession was deemed as being lawfully obtained and allowed as evidence, despite opposition from the defence.
A deal to reduce the charge to manslaughter collapsed last year after prosecutors demanded proof that his wife had asked him to kill her.
During the trial, a judge also dismissed a request to allow evidence from a psychiatrist who said Hunter was suffering dissociation at the time of the incident.
The court found he was lucid, demonstrated by the fact he took pills and called his brother after killing his wife.
A three-judge panel delivered the verdict in Paphos on Friday and he will be sentenced on 27 July.
His legal team said the manslaughter verdict means it’s possible he could get a suspended sentence and avoid jail.
“This remains a tragic case,” said campaign group Justice Abroad.
“Janice and David were in a loving relationship for over 50 years and it is clear that David did what he did out of love for Janice upon her request.
“We strongly believe that no proper purpose would be served by David spending any further time within Nicosia prison.”
Mrs Cawthorne previously said that as well as terminal blood cancer, her mother had ailments including painful rheumatoid arthritis, skin cancer and cataracts.
“She didn’t want a long, protracted death. She’d had enough and she just wanted to go,” she said.
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