Family fears 'frail' man will die in Cyprus prison as murder trial delayed

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

The Norwich daughter of a man accused of murdering his terminally ill wife in Cyprus fears her dad will be dead before his trial begins. 

Defence lawyers argue that David Hunter, 75, should not be charged with murder, but assisting a suicide. This has been refused. 

Mr Hunter is due to stand trial on Thursday in Paphos after the case had been delayed from mid-April. 

But the combination of another overrunning case and judges due to take a holiday means Mr Hunter's trial has now been put on hold for another three months.

Mr Hunter - a retired miner originally from Northumberland - faces the prospect of life imprisonment abroad 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.

David and Janice Hunter

David and Janice Hunter - Credit: Family photograph

And Mr Hunter has been in custody in Nicosia Central Prison having denied murder. 

Mr Hunter's daughter Lesley Cawthorne, 49, who lives in Norwich, has supported her father since learning of her mother's “terrible pain and suffering”

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She said: "I spoke to him on the phone yesterday and he is not feeling great. He is a bit bruised and battered after being bounced around in the back of a van from Nicosia to Paphos. 

"It was a considerable transfer for a 75-year-old man and he is really disappointed and crestfallen by the delay. It has been five months of delay in total now.

"It does seem very strange for the judges to prioritise a holiday over justice. It's like torture for my dad. 

"He has lost a lot of weight and has been reduced to skin and bone. We have a genuine concern he will die before the trial. 

"The delay could have really tragic implications for my family." 

Lesley with her parents David and Janice Hunter 

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

The family is also questioning the circumstances in which Mr Hunter confessed to the killing when he was under the influence of drink and drugs in an attempt to take his own life.

Miss Cawthorne said: "We would question if my father's mental condition was taken into account at the time. He did not have a lawyer present and we would argue he did not understand his rights." 

The family is fundraising to pay for the costs of the ongoing trial having had to fly lawyers out to Cyprus twice - only for the trial to be delayed.

David Hunter and Janice pictured in their younger days 

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