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British Man Guilty of ‘Mercy’ Killing His Wife in Cyprus Freed From Prison

A British pensioner was released from prison on Monday after he was convicted of killing his terminally ill wife in Cyprus. Credit: Michael Coghlan / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons

David Hunter, a British expatriate who killed his terminally ill wife in Cyprus was released from prison today.

In December 2021, at their retirement home near Paphos, Janice Hunter, 74, lost her life due to asphyxiation. Her husband, David Hunter, 76, admitted that he killed his wife but denied that it was murder.

After serving 19 months of a two-year sentence, Mr. Hunter was released on Monday after the Cypriot prison authorities officially calculated the date of his release.

British expat guilty of manslaughter released from Cyprus prison

During the trial in a Cyprus court, Mr. Hunter revealed that his wife Janice had been suffering from blood cancer and, because of the unbearable pain she was enduring, she “begged him” to end her life.

During the court proceedings, Mr. Hunter demonstrated how he placed his hands over Mrs. Hunter’s mouth and nose, recounting that he eventually acquiesced to her plea to end her life after she became “hysterical.” Following the incident, he attempted to commit suicide by consuming an overdose of medication, but timely intervention by paramedics saved him.

The court did not find him guilty of murder but convicted him of the lesser charge of manslaughter. This verdict was delivered earlier this month.

During the trial, state prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou told the BBC that Mr. Hunter took his wife’s life for “selfish motives”, further stating “It’s himself he was taking care of.”

Conversely, Mr. Hunter’s defense lawyer Ritsa Pekri argued that he was motivated to “liberate his wife from all that she was going through due to her health conditions”.

Judge Michalis Droussiotis remarked that the court was “not facing a typical case,” when he sentenced Mr. Hunter.

“This is a crime that goes against human life, which is the highest virtue. Taking it is a crime,” the judge said.

“Before us is a unique case of taking human life on the basis of feelings of love, with the aim of relieving the person of their suffering that came due to their illness,” he continued.

Michael Polak, the director of Justice Abroad – the organization representing Mr. Hunter – stated that in Cyprus a defendant would serve 10 months in custody for each year of their imprisonment.

Comments upon release

After being released from the Cyprus prison, the British pensioner stopped outside the court to make a statement.

“I would like to say thank you to all the people who donated to me and especially my mates, my workmates, I don’t know where I’d be without them,” Mr. Hunter said.

“I can’t describe [how I am feeling]. I wish I could find words to describe it but I can’t.

“When you’re under that pressure for two years, wondering which way it was going to go, you don’t know,” he added.

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