A British pensioner who got arrested for killing his terminally ill wife has stated that she pleaded with him to end her life.
He told a Cyprus court on Monday that he reluctantly killed his wife after she repeatedly “begged” him to do so.
“I didn’t want to do it. I said ‘no’,” David Hunter, 75, told the Paphos criminal court, adding he eventually agreed to his wife’s wishes after she “cried and begged”.
In Cyprus, a largely Orthodox Christian country where euthanasia is taboo, the case is unprecedented as there is no law on assisted suicide.
He faces 25 years in prison if convicted.
Hunter said that his wife Janice, 74, was so unwell before her death in December 2021 that she could no longer walk upstairs and the couple had slept in a lounge chair on the ground level of their home.
Diagnosed with blood cancer and suffering from blood transfusion treatments, Janice had repeatedly told him to end her life, Hunter said.
He said he had hoped for “a miracle or something good to happen” that would change her mind about wanting to die, adding that there was no pre-planning in his actions.
The retired miner from Northumberland had previously said he finally acquiesced to his wife’s wishes, smothering her to death in their sitting room in Tremithousa, near Paphos, on the Mediterranean island’s west coast.
The pair were teenage sweethearts and had been together for 59 years.
Police found Hunter after he had overdosed on prescription pills and alcohol in a bid to take his own life. He was later committed to a psychiatric hospital for 10 days.
“Today was a very emotional and difficult day for David, however, he was pleased to finally be able to explain what has happened,” said Michael Polak, Hunter’s lawyer from the UK firm Justice Abroad.
He said Monday’s evidence showed how much “David loved his wife”.
Hunter had previously pleaded not guilty to murder, his defence arguing it was assisted suicide, but prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou has told the court there was no evidence of a pact.
The trial continues Tuesday when more witnesses will be called to testify.