Daughter's plea for help after dad accused of murdering her mother

David Hunter with his late wife Janice who died in December 2021

David Hunter with his late wife Janice who died in December 2021 - Credit: Family photograph

A heartbroken daughter is pleading for the return home of her dad who is currently behind bars abroad charged with the murder of her mother.  

David Hunter, 74, faces life imprisonment in Cyprus - where the retired miner is living - after the death of his late wife Janice at the age of 75 in December 2021. 

She was suffering from a terminal blood cancer which had already taken her sister's life.

Now their daughter Lesley Hunter, 47, who lives in Norwich, is begging for changes to assisted dying laws as well as support to get her father home. 

Lesley with her parents David and Janice Hunter 

Lesley with her parents David and Janice Hunter - Credit: Family photograph

Mr Hunter has denied murder and Justice Abroad - run by international lawyer Michael Polak - is seeking to have the charge changed to assisting suicide.

This has sparked country-wide debate in Cyprus about mercy killings.

Mr Polak said: "From the support the Hunter family has received on this case, it is clear that most people sympathise with this situation.

Most Read

"The Cypriot parliament has recently started to discuss legalising euthanasia in Cyprus.

"We believe that there is a strong argument that a murder charge in this case is not in the public interest and from those I have spoken to in Cyprus they do not think that David should be facing such a charge and a potential life sentence."

Janice and David Hunter pictured on their wedding day

Janice and David Hunter pictured on their wedding day - Credit: Family photograph

Mr Hunter's daughter Lesley is working with the lawyer from her home in the city centre and added she would like to see legislation changed.

She said she has supported assisting dying "for a long time" and described the episode as "deeply distressing" for her family.

Ms Hunter added: "As a family we are deeply traumatised by the whole thing.

"We are in a very bad way."

The family's lawyer believes this is the first euthanasia type case to be heard in Cyprus.

Mr Polak added: "We will be writing to the Cypriot attorney general asking for him to consider an alternative charge of assisting suicide in this case.

"At a time when the Parliament of Cyprus is discussing the legalisation of euthanasia and given the circumstances, in this case, we will be submitting that assisting suicide would be a much more appropriate charge than murder which carries a mandatory life sentence." 

David Hunter and Janice pictured in their younger days 

David Hunter and Janice pictured in their younger days - Credit: Family photograph

A fundraising page has been set up by Ms Hunter for the legal defence of her father who was married to his late wife for 56 years - meeting as "teenage sweethearts". 

It says: "Over the last five years my mum became increasingly unwell. She was suffering from blood cancer and was in a great deal of pain and her quality of life had drastically diminished.

"This was a terminal disease that had taken the life of her sister and the pain she was under was getting worse and worse.

"She wanted to die and wanted for her suffering to be ended."

David and Janice Hunter

David and Janice Hunter - Credit: Family photograph

More than £2,550 of the £6,000 target has now been raised to support Mr Hunter's legal case.

He had tried to end his own life following the death of his late wife and was left feeling "bewildered and terrified" in prison.

Speaking about Mr Hunter - who formerly lived in Northumberland - Mr Polak said: "Mr Hunter is understandably devastated. He came to the last hearing dressed in black as a sign of his mourning.  

"He has lost his childhood sweetheart and has been locked away in a foreign prison leaving him without physical access to his family.

"The entire world knows how draining mourning is and he has had to deal with it alone.

"He is however extremely grateful for the support he has received and all of the generous donations towards his legal costs."

Mr Hunter entered a not guilty plea at Paphos District Court at a hearing on February 10. 

He has been remanded in custody in Nicosia Central Prison.

His trial is due to begin on April 18.