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British pensioner accused of murdering wife in Cyprus seeks manslaughter charge | Cyprus

A deal is being worked out to spare a British pensioner, accused of the premeditated murder in Cyprus of his terminally ill wife, from spending the rest of his life behind bars.

David Hunter, a former miner from Northumberland, faces a 25-year sentence if convicted.

But on Wednesday, as the Paphos District Court reconvened to hear the groundbreaking case, it became clear the Briton’s fate hinged on reaching a deal that would see him plead guilty to manslaughter when the tribunal will sit again on November 18.

“We have investigated the case and recommended that the charge be changed from premeditated murder to manslaughter,” assistant prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou told reporters.

“It’s the right thing for David. Otherwise he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

David and Janice Hunter, teenage sweethearts when they first fell in love, had been living together for more than 50 years when, less than a week before Christmas last year, the 75-year-old reportedly begged her husband to put end to what had become a life. extreme suffering from advanced leukaemia.

Hunter said he ultimately succumbed to his wife’s wishes, using his bare hands to block her airway and suffocate her to death – an act that took 15 minutes – in the living room of the couple’s rented maisonette in outside the southern resort town. Western coast. He then attempted suicide by overdosing on prescription drugs and alcohol, only to be found by police who were alerted by his brother, who had been called by Hunter.

“From the start, we said it was in no one’s interest for David to receive a long prison term, and if we can come to an agreement on the facts, which we hope we can, we hope the court will consider a suspended sentence, while he can return to the UK to be with his family,” said Michael Polak of UK legal aid group Justice Abroad, who visited the UK. island for the trial. “It is positive that the prosecution and ourselves are getting closer in understanding the facts.”

In the absence of a suicide note, the process of changing the charge in a country where euthanasia is prohibited was not easy. Although Janice Hunter received hospital care including injections and blood transfusions, the degree to which she suffered from leukemia – a disease that also killed her sister, Kathleen, decades earlier – remains a possible point of contention, according to the ‘charge.

“It’s historic in the sense that this is the first such case in Cyprus,” Polak told the Guardian, saying he had given the court a copy of Kathleen’s death certificate stating that she died in excruciating pain from complications related to leukemia. “But there is considerable case law in other common law countries that would support [our case].”

The former miner spent several weeks in hospital where doctors who pumped his stomach described him as having no desire to live after the death of his wife. Now 75, he looked ruddy and considerably thinner as he stood in the dock, clutching the bench with both hands as a court interpreter translated the proceedings. The past nine months of incarceration in the overcrowded central prison in Nicosia have been filled with problems, including the loneliness of being without her companion for so many years, despite daily phone calls to her daughter, Lesley, back at home. home.

“Cyprus was heaven, she loved it,” Hunter said before being returned under police escort to his 11-man cell in the island’s capital. “We have never regretted moving here. It was a sunny life before Janice got sick.