Pensioner accused of killing wife banned from grieving in church
EXCLUSIVE: British pensioner, 75, accused of killing his terminally ill wife claims Cypriot prison bosses refused to allow him to go to church on anniversary of her death – as he returns to court for murder trial
- David Hunter, 75, is accused of murdering his wife Janice, 74, in December 2021
- Janice suffered from a type of terminal blood cancer and took heavy medication
- A U-turn last month saw a plea deal thrown out and a murder trial has begun
A British pensioner accused of killing his terminally ill wife has revealed how prison authorities refused him permission to go to church on the anniversary of his wife’s death.
David Hunter, 75, has been in jail on remand for more than a year after being arrested and accused of murdering his wife Janice, 74, who was suffering from blood cancer, at their retirement home on the island.
Last month lawyers representing him said they had been led to believe that a plea bargain was agreed and that he would plead guilty to manslaughter on agreed facts paving the way for a possible release on compassionate grounds.
But instead the judge at a district court in Paphos, a holiday resort in western Cyprus popular with Britons, decided to press ahead with his case as a murder trial.
British pensioner David Hunter, 75, has revealed how prison authorities refused him permission to go to church on the anniversary of his wife’s death (pictured today)
David Hunter has been in jail on remand for more than a year after being arrested and accused of murdering his wife Janice, 74, who was suffering from blood cancer (pictured today)
The pair from Northumberland retired to Paphos 20 years ago and were married for 46 years
The details of how Mrs Hunter died have not been made public.
Today as he sat in court he revealed how he had asked officials at Nicosia prison if he could attend church last month to commemorate his wife’s death on December 18, 2021.
He said: ‘I put it all in writing but I never heard back from them, so I didn’t get a chance.
‘I had really wanted to go and made the request through the proper channels but didn’t get a reply. So if I didn’t get a reply, it meant they refused me permission.’
Speaking of the stop-start process of the trial he said: ‘It’s all really stressful, you build yourself up the night before and you get up at 5.30am on the day for a 90-minute drive from the prison to the court and after a few minutes it’s adjourned.
‘The back and forth just drains you and it leaves you deflated but I will take each day as it comes and I’ve put my faith in my legal team and my family.’
The pair from Northumberland retired to Paphos 20 years ago and Mrs Hunter had been suffering with blood cancer, a condition her sister had died from.
They were married for 46 years and Janice was on heavy medication for a type of terminal blood cancer when she died.
Last month judges dramatically turned the case to a murder trial – after Hunter was expected to plead guilty to manslaughter
Mr Hunter said he just wished the trial could be over so he could begin to grieve his wife (the couple are pictured on their wedding day)
Last month David’s daughter Lesley, who lives in Norwich and is pictured here with her parents, spoke of the frustration at the stop start trial and told MailOnline: ‘I’m just shocked and stunned. We are devastated and just don’t know how this has happened’
British pensioner David Hunter is escorted into a custody van at Paphos Assize Court in December
Mr Hunter, a former British miner, said in September after a court appearance that Janice had been diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and after watching her sister die of the disease, she ‘knew what was coming’.
He said: ‘She wasn’t just my wife, she was my best friend. It’s like a black hole.
‘Janice’s sister had died from leukemia and she saw what was coming.’
Mr Hunter has told police a pact existed between him and his wife and that after she had died he had tried to take his own life but he had been found after relatives alerted police.
Paramedic Kleovoulos Kleovoulu told the court that when he arrived he noticed packets of tablets in the house and that they had ‘all been taken.’
When asked by the prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou what David’s mental state was he said that it ‘wasn’t’ his job to ‘diagnosis someone’s psychological condition’.
David added how his spirits had been kept up by a fellow British cellmate, who he identified as a 28 year old from Southampton.
He said: ‘I’d rather not say what he is in for but he’s kept my spirits up. He helps me and I help him, through laughter really. He’s the one who has really kept me going.’
When asked by MailOnline how he had spent Christmas he replied: ‘It was just like any other day, so it made no difference to me.’
He added: ‘I’m treated fairly and with respect and everyone’s been good to me so I can’t complain. I just want it to be over so I can get on and grieve, I want to stay in Cyprus. My wife died here and I want to stay here.’
Last month David’s daughter Lesley, who lives in Norwich, spoke of the frustration at the stop start trial and told MailOnline: ‘I’m just shocked and stunned. We are devastated and just don’t know how this has happened.’
The family have set up a funding page to help pay for defence costs and have raised just over £28,000. If found guilty he faces life in prison
Today as he sat in court Mr Hunter revealed how he had asked officials at Nicosia prison (file image) if he could attend church last month to commemorate his wife’s death on December 18, 2021
She added: ‘Our side has always acted in good faith and we genuinely believed we had reached an understanding, so to have the rug so suddenly pulled seems unnecessarily cruel.
‘There is a broken family here so this process needs to be about more than legal point scoring. If they are truly interested in justice, perhaps they would like to take my thoughts and feelings into account.’
After the paramedic finished giving evidence there was tension as he revealed he could not call his next witness, Dr Nectarios Sidiropoulos as he was a busy GP and he was ‘unavailable all week’ judge Michalis Droussiotis ordered he appear immediately or he would ‘issue an arrest warrant’.
He added: ‘There are many doctors in Paphos, he comes here now,’ before halting the case so he could be contacted.
When the court resumed a few minutes later the prosecutor confirmed Dr Sidiropoulos would be available on Wednesday and the trial was adjourned until then.
Cyprus is an Orthodox Christian country where euthanasia is forbidden although MPs are considering debating a law to allow it in extreme cases.
The family have set up a funding page to help pay for defence costs and have raised just over £28,000. If found guilty he faces life in prison.
Help Bring David Home (crowdjustice.com)
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