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19 June, 2024
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Judge hears new evidence in mercy killing case

Court hears audio of daughter begging overdosed dad to stay alert after he ended ailing wife’s life


A harrowing video recorded in Britain was played this week before a Cypriot judge, who is presiding over the criminal trial of a British pensioner facing murder charges after ending the life of his cancer-stricken wife.

British pensioner David Hunter, who is charged with the premeditated murder of his sick wife in Cyprus, has been trying to get out of jail and back home to his daughter on lesser charges but a possible deal remained elusive after more than a year behind bars.

The 74-year-old man had told police in December 2021 that he killed his wife Janice to end her suffering from leukemia, but prosecutors who flirted with the idea of a manslaughter plea deal backed off after dismissing defense arguments that the woman had agreed to end her life.

Hunter, a retired miner originally from the English countryside, blocked his wife’s air passages until she died in his hands in their home in Tremithousa, Paphos district. He then took over 100 pills in an attempt to end his life in what he described as a suicide pact.

'I love you. I’m your girl, I will always love you. I’m your girl daddy. I’m your little girl, concentrate on me. You cannot leave … Daddy don’t leave me'

Prosecutors point to statements made by Hunter to law enforcement after the death of his wife, but the defense introduced a video arguing he was not in a clear mind to make any statements.

“Daddy, daddy, just concentrate on me. Just concentrate on me,” a woman’s voice was heard saying in the video.

The voice belonged to Hunter’s daughter, Lesley Cawthorne, who was filed by a family member in her Norwich home shortly after authorities had been alerted of her father’s actions in Cyprus.

“Forget about everybody else, just concentrate on me. Daddy you love me. Not anybody else, just me and you. I love you. I’m your girl, I will always love you. I’m your girl daddy. I’m your little girl, concentrate on me. You cannot leave … Daddy don’t leave me,” Cawthorne said.

It was not clear whether Judge Michalis Droussiotis, who presides over a panel of criminal judges, ruled for the video to enter into evidence.

But media reports said the defense were attempting to use the footage to strike off initial comments made by Hunter, who had spoken with Cypriot police just hours after surviving a pill overdose.

“I was fuzzy and it looked like I was looking down on myself,” Hunter told the court this week.

It remained unclear whether prosecutors would press on with murder charges.

But after a plea deal failed, and with euthanasia laws absent on the conservative Orthodox island, Hunter’s fate were sure to remain a topic of heated discussion as the trial goes forward amid a highly presidential election next month.

Cyprus  |  Paphos  |  Tremithousa  |  mercy killing  |  murder  |  manslaughter  |  Janice  |  Hunter  |  assisted suicide

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