Norwich woman's father to face murder trial in Cyprus
- Credit: Family photograph
A Norwich woman has been told her father will face a murder trial in Cyprus for killing his terminally ill wife - after her pleas for an assisted suicide charge were rejected.
Lesley Hunter has been campaigning to help her father, David Hunter, arguing it is not in the public interest to prosecute him for the murder of her mother, Janice.
However, the Cypriot attorney general has rejected her appeal and prosecutors are proceeding with a murder charge.
Janice Hunter, 75, had been suffering from a terminal blood cancer. Her body was found at the home the couple shared in the village of Tremithousa, near Paphos, on the Mediterranean island, on December 18, 2021.
Police said she had been suffocated. Mr Hunter, 74, was found partially sedated after attempting to take his own life.
Their daughter, Lesley, 47, who works in financial advice, has been working with group called Justice Abroad, run by international lawyer Michael Polak, to have the charge downgraded.
She has not been able to travel to Cyprus but has been working with the lawyers from her home in the city centre and has been running a fundraising page to support the legal bid.
The team submitted a lengthy plea to convince the attorney general to intervene in what is the first case of its kind in Cyprus, but this has been rejected.
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Mr Polak said: “We are all disappointed. We cannot see how it is in the public interest to put David on trial for murder, given the circumstances it really is hard to understand. We will do everything possible to bring David home."
He added: “It must be so difficult for Lesley, and being unable to travel will make it that bit harder.”
The case has sparked a country-wide debate in Cyprus about mercy killings.
Janice Hunter was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2016 and her health deteriorated throughout the pandemic.
Lesley has said that her mother did not want to endure the same agonising, undignified death as her sister, who had suffered from the same condition.
Lesley told the Observer newspaper: “It’s been impossible to grieve for Mum. All we want is compassion. We need Dad home so we can grieve together.”
She added: "Dad is obsessed with the idea that he needs to visit Mum’s grave. He feels it’s indecent and disrespectful that he hasn’t been able to go."
Mr Hunter is a former miner from Northumberland. He had moved out to Cyprus with his wife.
Due to the seriousness of the charge he is facing - which carries a life sentence - he has been kept in Nicosia’s central prison, where he has been sharing a cell with 11 other men.
His trial has been adjourned until June 16.