British expat David Hunter jailed for manslaughter of terminally ill wife

British expat David Hunter has been sentenced to two years in prison for the manslaughter of his wife Janice. It means the 76-year-old could be freed by August 18 at the latest, according to his lawyer.

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Mr Hunter admitted suffocating his wife of 52 years at their home on the island after she “begged him” to end her life as she suffered from blood cancer.

Judges at Paphos District Court on Monday imposed a two-year jail sentence on Mr Hunter, who having already spent 19 months in custody has already served the majority of his sentence.

Michael Polak, Director of Justice Abroad, which represents Mr Hunter, said that in Cyprus a defendant will spend 10 months in custody for every year they are jailed.

Mr Polak said his client will be released on August 18 at the latest, but could be out sooner for good behaviour.

Judges had found Mr Hunter not guilty of the more serious charge of premeditated murder.

His legal team had argued he should be given a suspended sentence, in a case which was a legal first for the island country.

In mitigation last week, defence lawyer Ritsa Pekri said his motive was to “liberate his wife from all she was going through due to her health conditions”.

The court heard it was Mrs Hunter’s “wish” to die and her husband “had only feelings of love for her”.

Mr Hunter, from Ashington, Northumberland, told his trial that his wife “cried and begged” him to end her life.

He broke down in tears as he said he would “never in a million years” have taken Mrs Hunter’s life unless she had asked him to.

In court, he showed how he held his hands over his wife’s mouth and nose, saying he eventually decided to grant her wish after she became “hysterical”.

The court heard he then tried to kill himself by taking an overdose, but medics arrived in time to save him.

The sentence will come as a great relief to Mr Hunter’s family who had felt “apprehensive” ahead of the sentencing.

The Hunters’ daughter, Lesley Cawthrone, said previously the family was not counting its chickens and was hoping for time served or a suspended sentence.

Ms Cawthorne said her father had been “quietly relieved” since the verdict, but was “not especially” hopeful about his sentence.

She said ahead of the sentencing her dad he didn’t want to allow himself to get his hopes up, adding: “He’s grateful the judges seem to have understood what they went through and believe that he acted out of love.”

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