Daughter of man accused of killing terminally ill wife begs authorities to free him and 'put family back together'

20 July 2023, 13:52 | Updated: 20 July 2023, 14:02

Lesley Cawthorne has pleaded for her father to be freed
Lesley Cawthorne has pleaded for her father to be freed. Picture: Alamy/Facebook

By Kit Heren

The daughter of a man who is accused of murdering his terminally-ill wife has begged for authorities in Cyprus to let him go to bring their family back together.

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Janice Hunter, 74, died of suffocation in December 2021 at the retirement home she lived in with her husband David near the coastal resort town of Paphos on the Mediterranean island.

Hunter, 76, has admitted suffocating his wife of over 50 years - but claimed she begged him to do it to end the pain her blood cancer was causing her. His lawyers claim the death was an assisted suicide.

But Hunter was charged with murder and has spent nearly two years locked up in Cyprus. Three judges are set to decide his fate on Friday. If found guilty, he would face a mandatory life sentence.

Hunter's daughter Lesley Cawthorne begged the judges to "show some compassion" ahead of the verdict.

Read more: Brit accused of murdering his terminally ill wife in Cyprus tells court she ‘cried and begged’ for him to kill her

Read more: British woman begged her father not to kill himself after suffocating mother, Cyprus court hears

David Hunter is accused of murdering his wife Janice
David Hunter is accused of murdering his wife Janice. Picture: Facebook

"I'm trying to brace myself for the worst but I'm really hoping for the best," she said.

She told Good Morning Britain: "I want my dad to come home. I love my dad. I have no doubt that he was helping my mum in the way she wanted to be helped.

"They were together for over 50 years. They were in love. They were happy. They had a good marriage. My dad is a good, good man and I want him home because that's what my mum would want, what I want and it's what we need as a family.'

Hunter tried to take a drugs and alcohol overdose after his wife's death, but emergency services revived him and he was arrested.

Describing the killing, he told a court in May: "I didn't want to do it - I said no."

David Hunter
David Hunter. Picture: Alamy

The retired miner, from Ashington in Northumberland, said he eventually decided to grant his wife's wish after she became "hysterical" and unable to take care of herself.

The defendant, who held back tears as he gave evidence, said his wife, who had blood cancer, "did not attempt" to stop him as he put his hands over her mouth and nose.

Hunter described his marriage as "perfect", adding: "After 57 years together, I really didn't want to do it."

As he recounted Janice's final few weeks through an interpreter, he said: "She cried. She couldn't do nothing. She couldn't move."She was sleeping in the leather chair downstairs and for the last week we slept down on those chairs together.

"I felt so helpless and hopeless that I couldn't do anything for her."For five or six weeks before she died she was asking me to help her. She was asking me more every day.

Lesley Cawthorne
Lesley Cawthorne. Picture: Facebook

"In the last week she was crying and begging me. Every day she asked me a bit more intensely to do it."The last week, she started crying. She started crying and begging me."

"She said, 'I can't go on. This life isn't for me. We just go to the hospital and stay at home. I don't have any quality of life and I'm totally bored of this. I can't go on'.

"She started becoming hysterical so I said, 'Yes, I'll help you'."I just told her that to calm her down."