Human Interest

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter after killing his wife in alleged assisted suicide

A UK man will plead guilty to manslaughter after ending his wife’s life on December 18, 2021, and then claiming it was “assisted suicide” via an email to his brother. According to the state prosecutor, defense attorneys had previously turned down a different plea deal. 

As previously reported by Live Action News, David Hunter is alleged to have suffocated his wife Janice Hunter following her diagnosis of blood cancer, the same cancer that ended her sister’s life years prior. He claimed her health was declining rapidly, and he wanted to end her suffering. Hunter then tried to take his own life with pills but was unsuccessful. He and his wife were living in a retirement community in Cyprus at the time of her death.

Hunter’s defense attorneys requested the attorney general charge Hunter with assisted suicide instead of premeditated murder, in order to prevent him from serving prison time. The AG, however, denied this request.  

State Prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou said the court granted an adjournment until December 13, when Hunter’s defense will argue for mitigation in an attempt to reduce Hunter’s sentence. Sentencing is expected within a few days after the manslaughter plea is entered next week. His attorneys hope the case will be completed by Christmas.

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Manslaughter carries a maximum life sentence, but Hadijkyrou said, “It’s unlikely Hunter will receive a long prison term.” He also does not believe the prosecution will object to Hunter serving his prison sentence in the UK, where he is from. 

“There’s no precedent for such ‘euthanasia, manslaughter-type cases’ in Cyprus and the court would have to look to similar cases in other common law countries like Canada and India,” said Michael Polak, Spokesman for Justice Abroad, a group that helps Britons navigate legal cases in foreign countries.

Polak continued, “And if the court follows their treatment of euthanasia-type cases, a suspended sentence is a distinct possibility and that’s what we’ll be asking the court to do.” In Cyprus, sentences up to three years imprisonment can be suspended.

According to Daily Mail, the couple’s daughter, Lesley, said, “I think Mum and Dad had made a pact. They just wanted to go together. Mum had repeatedly made her wishes clear to Dad during the final six weeks of her life. She was, Dad has now told me, talking about it daily. To begin with, he tried to dissuade her.”

She continued, “He has nightmares now when he can still hear her screaming in pain. I’m horrified they were so desperate they thought that dying together was the only way out.”

Hadjukyrou said there was no tangible evidence, like a written letter, that suggested Janice Hunter ever asked her husband to end her life.

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