British pensioner David Hunter says his wife “begged me to kill her” as she looked to end the suffering she faced due to terminal blood cancer.
David, 76, marked his release from prison in Cyprus with a pint and a beef burger. But it wasn’t all celebrations for David, after he was cleared of murdering the woman he loved most in the world.
The retired miner from Northumberland was sentenced to two years behind bars after being convicted of manslaughter. It came after he agreed to kill his wife Janice, who asked him to end her suffering.
David spent two years in custody as he awaited his trial. Earlier this week he managed to visit his wife’s grave for the first time since his release.
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Now David has spoken out about how it felt to visit Janice’s resting place. Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “I feel numb, a little bit dizzy. It’s hard to take in actually. It doesn’t feel real.
“It’s a beautiful spot, a little way from the house in Tremithousa [a village four miles from Paphos] where we used to live and I’d like to get a little place there now, near the grave, so I can visit her every day, and when my time comes I’ll be buried next to her.
“I still speak to Janice. I still tell her I love her and miss her every day. I say, ‘I don’t know whether I love you more or miss you more’.”
David says the custody officer congratulated him after he was released from prison. But now he faces life without the woman he adored, hoping to remain in Cyprus where they shared 16 years of retirement before she fell ill.
David is plagued by flashbacks to the fateful night in December 21, where he suffocated his wife before attempting to end his own life in a bid to “go with her”.
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Janice, he says, “pleaded” with him for six weeks to end her life, but David initially held out, refusing to do so. Eventually, he relented, and now says he is left having “nightmares” about it.
David, who says the couple would have taken Janice to Dignitas assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland if they had the ability or funds, now says he thinks there should be more debate about euthanasia. He says his wife was not getting any better and kept asking him to put her “out of her misery”.
The couple, who met when they were 18, moved to Pathos in 2001, having sold their home in Northumberland. But in 2016, Janice’s health started to take a turn for the worse.
The Daily Mail says Janice had a broken collar bone after a fall, having already had two knee replacements and an appendectomy. And later David had a stroke but recovered stoicly.
In September however, a doctor noticed Janice “looked white”. It was further tests that led to her being diagnosed with myelodysplasia, a rare form of blood cancer in which bone marrow does not produce healthy blood cells.
Janice needed regular injections to counter her symptoms. But the couple’s insurance did not cover the cost, meaning they sold their apartment and moved to a rural rented property.
Then when coronavirus hit, David says the couple struggled to get the medication at all, with doctors and hospitals shut due to the virus. He added: “After Covid she seemed to get worse. She said, ‘I’m sick of life. I’m not going to get better.”
Towards the end of her life, David says the couple slept in recliner chairs downstairs because Janice could not get up without be carried. And she ate very little, just noodles and soup.
It was a Monday evening in December 2021 when David finally gave in to Janice’s requests, and suffocated his wife before attempting to end his own life.
He then video called his brother William, who afterwards contacted police in Manchester and David’s daughter Lesley. Police in the UK contacted the Cypriot authorities – who thwarted David’s attempt.
He instead ended up being taken to hospital and then facing a murder charge. Having been sentenced for manslaughter, David was released after having spent 19 months behind bars.
During the sentencing hearing, judge Michalis Droussiotis said: “We are not facing a typical case. This is not a case acting out of animosity or differences between two people that led to someone taking another’s life.
“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.”
Judge Droussiotis said there may never have been a case like this in Cyprus and that the message for any future similar cases had to be that “taking away human life, even with the intention of relieving suffering, is a crime”.
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