A BRITISH pensioner who killed his terminally ill wife after she “cried and begged” him to do it has today been cleared of murder.
David Hunter, 76, has instead been found guilty of manslaughter after smothering his cancer-stricken wife Janice at their home in Cyprus.
FacebookDavid Hunter has been cleared of murdering his terminally ill wife Janice[/caption]
PAThe British grandad had told a court his wife begged him to end her life as she suffered from cancer[/caption]
PAHunter was cleared of murder in court today[/caption]
A three-judge bench today ruled there was no proof that Hunter had premeditated the murder – sparing him a life sentence.
They said Hunter’s decision to suffocate his 74-year-old wife was a spur-of-the-moment decision because he snapped as he could no longer stand her weeping in pain.
Michael Polak, of the London-based Justice Abroad which defends Brits in trouble overseas, said: “We are ecstatic with the result today.
“This gives the court the option of a suspended sentence which we say is appropriate given the time David has already spent in custody, his age and the tragic facts of this case.”
But Hunter insisted he only agreed to do it after the 74-year-old “begged me for weeks” to end her excruciating pain from advanced leukemia.
In May, the grandad – who has become increasingly frail during the trial – broke down in tears as he relived the moments before Janice died in his arms at their home.
Hunter told the trial that he would “never in a million years” have taken Janice’s life unless she had asked him to.
He added: “She wasn’t just my wife, she was my best friend.”
Hunter showed the court how he held his hands over his wife’s mouth and nose and said he eventually decided to grant his wife’s wish after she became “hysterical”.
He said: “For five or six weeks before she died she was asking me to help her. She was asking me more every day.
“In the last week she was crying and begging me. Every day she asked me a bit more intensely to do it.”
Before he finished giving evidence, he asked to address the judge, who he told: “My wife was suffering and she actually said: ‘I don’t want to live any more,’ and I still said no.
“Then she started to become hysterical. I was hoping she would change her mind. I loved her so much. I did not plan it, I swear to God.”
After giving evidence he told reporters his time in a Cypriot prison was “nothing” compared to the last six months of Janice’s life.
Hunter told the court he tried to kill himself after his wife’s death.
At trial, the prosecution said he “had decided to kill her and there was no common consent”.
During closing speeches in June, his defence team said it was not a case of premeditated murder and Hunter “acted spontaneously” to end his wife’s life “upon her begging him to do so”.
They have also argued a confession he is said to have made when he was arrested should not have been used against him, claiming he was suffering from dissociation at the time.
The couple, originally from Ashington, were teenage sweethearts and had been together for more than 50 years when they retired to Tremithousa, a popular village outside Paphos.
Hunter tried to commit suicide by overdosing on prescription pills moments after informing his brother, back home, about what had happened.
When police turned up at the villa he was slumped in a white leather chair next to the woman he called the “love of my life”.
Hunter also told the court how his wife’s sister Kathryn had died 30 years earlier from the same disease and how Janice, who had looked after her in hospital, had said: “If I ever have this illness I don’t want to live.”
As he was cross-examined by the state prosecutor handling the case, Hunter cracked with emotion as he was shown pictures of the crime scene.
Hunter, who has been held in custody since December 2021, will be sentenced on July 27.
PAThe couple were teenage sweethearts and were together for more than 50 years[/caption]
PAHunter told the court his relationship with Janice was ‘perfect’[/caption]