Briton who killed terminally ill wife in Cyprus freed after 19 months

David Hunter had been on trial for the manslaughter of his wife in December 2021.

David Hunter
Retired British miner David Hunter, convicted of killing his terminally ill wife to relieve her suffering, enters a police van as he leaves the court, after a mitigation hearing, in Paphos [File: Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP]

David Hunter, a British man found guilty of killing his terminally ill wife in Cyprus, has been released after a court in Paphos ruled that the 19 months he has already served in custody were sufficient.

Earlier this month, Hunter, 76, was cleared of premeditated murder and instead convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. The court had handed him a two-year jail term.

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The retired miner went on trial in Cyprus for killing his wife Janice in December 2021, in the coastal town of Paphos.

Janice Hunter, 74, had suffered from a rare type of blood cancer. In constant pain, she had repeatedly beseeched David, her husband of more than 50 years, to help her die.

He suffocated her with his hands at their Paphos home, then attempted to take his own life with pills and alcohol.

State prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou told the Associated Press that the court took into account that Hunter had acted “out of love” to save his wife.

It also took into account Hunter’s age and the fact that he had no previous criminal record.

“The sentencing exercise was not a simple one given that a case like this has never come before the courts of Cyprus before,” said Michael Polak of the advocacy group Justice Abroad.

Hunter’s daughter Lesley Cawthorne, who had started a fundraising campaign for her father’s release, welcomed the news.

“I thought I’d lost him forever. I cannot believe it. It’s amazing,” she said, according to a British media report.

“I just didn’t think, after the way the case has gone, that this was possible,” she added.

Cyprus does not permit assisted dying. Its parliament is expected to discuss euthanasia under medical supervision later this year.

Source: News Agencies