Brit accused of murdering dying wife in Cyprus ‘may die before trial’ after case postponed

The daughter of a Briton accused of murdering his terminally ill wife in Cyprus fears he will die before his trial after the case was delayed for more than three months.

David Hunter was due to stand trial today for the death of his wife Janice, 75, in his apartment in island last December.

Mrs. Hunter, who had terminal blood cancer, was allegedly suffocated by her husband, who then tried to end his own life by taking an overdose, but survived.

Hunter says his wife “made her wishes clear” and “wanted it to end” because she didn’t want a “long and drawn out death”, according to her daughter.

The retired miner, originally from Northumberlandappeared in Paphos District Court on Thursday, but was told that his murder trial had been postponed to 19 September.

The couple’s daughter, who had urged the judges to show “compassion” regarding his father, he told Sky News that he felt “extreme disappointment” at the delay and was “angry”.

Lesley Cawthorne said: “My dad is an elderly man and he’s not well and that’s an incredibly long delay.

“It will be nine months since my mother died, so they will keep my father – who is not a risk to anyone – in prison for nine months.”

Mrs. Cawthorne, who was unable to travel to Cyprus for the trial because of his health, said reasons behind the delay include another case being passed and a “summer break” for the judges.

“I hope they enjoy their summer vacation because our family won’t enjoy ours,” she said.

“I think justice is more important than a holiday.

“In all honesty, I’m worried that my 75-year-old father with a history of stroke will die before we go to trial – that’s what worries me.”

Mrs. Cawthorne, who lives in Norwich, said her father “seemed in good spirits” before the hearing but is “down” after the adjournment.

“He just wanted to know what his fate would be,” she said.

“It’s cruel to torture him like that. It’s only prolonging the agony for us.”

She added: “We had a good conversation yesterday – my dad and I – and he really prepared himself mentally.

“He wanted the trial to go ahead today. He wanted to be able to share his story.

“He wanted people to understand what my mother went through. He really wanted this opportunity to tell my mother’s story.

“He prepared for this and that opportunity is now gone. It’s incredibly disappointing.”

Mrs. Cawthorne said she now expects the trial to continue into next year after the hearing in September.

Her parents, who had been together for 56 years and were teenage sweethearts, had moved to Cyprus 20 years ago after retirement.

At the end of her life, Mrs. Hunter was left in severe pain by a catalog of health problems and her quality of life was “non-existent” in her final weeks, her daughter said.

After Mr. Hunter was charged with the murder of his wife, his lawyers wrote to the Cypriot Attorney General to ask that the charge be reduced to assisted suicide, but the request was refused.

Michael Polak, a lawyer and director of Justice Abroad, which is supporting Hunter, said defense attorneys will ask judges at his trial to exonerate him of the murder.

He told Sky News: “It’s pretty clear to anyone looking at the case that this is not a case where murder is the most appropriate charge.

“We don’t think David deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison in Cyprus. He’s a good man. He’s been with his wife for a long time, they’ve been in a loving relationship for over 50 years.

“No one – even the people in Cyprus I spoke to – thinks he deserves to be tried for murder.”

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