Tuesday, March 5, 2024
HomeCourtsMercy-killing husband "not getting his hopes high" about his sentence

Mercy-killing husband “not getting his hopes high” about his sentence

A British expat who was cleared of murdering his seriously ill wife in Cyprus is not getting his hopes up about being released from prison, his daughter has said.

On Friday, David Hunter, 76, was convicted of the manslaughter of his wife Janice, 74, who he suffocated at their retirement home in December 2021.

Lawyers for the retired miner from Ashington, Northumberland, hope he will be given a suspended sentence.

His sentencing will begin on Thursday.

Hunter, who has been in custody for 19 months, told the Cypriot court his wife “cried and begged” him to end her life as she suffered from blood cancer.

His legal team will argue he should be given a suspended sentence and that there is “no point in keeping him in prison any longer”.

The couple’s daughter, Lesley Cawthorne, said the family was “apprehensive” ahead of the sentencing hearing, which is expected to last at least two days.

She told the PA news agency: “We are hoping for time served or a suspended sentence but are very aware that there’s a chance he’ll remain in custody. We’re not counting our chickens.”

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

Janice and David Hunter had been together for more than 50 years

“He doesn’t want to allow himself to get his hopes up,” she said. “He’s grateful that the judges seem to have understood what they went through and believe that he acted out of love.”

Michael Polak, director of Justice Abroad which is representing Hunter, said there had not been a similar case in Cyprus before but courts in other countries, including Canada, Australia and the UK, had found suspended sentences appropriate for cases like those of his client.

“Last week the court found in David’s favour on all matters including that Janice had requested that he help her die, that he had acted because of his love for her, and that he then tried to end his own life,” Mr Polak said.

“We will be submitting to the court that a suspended sentence is appropriate in this case, given the type of offence, David’s age, the fact that he has spent 19 months in custody, and his previous good character.

“There is no point in keeping David in prison any longer.”

(Source: BBC)

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