A British man living in Cyprus murdered his wife in 2021, claiming he had done it as a merciful act of assisted suicide because she was terminally ill. Now, in the midst of the court trial, at least one doctor is claiming that the wife may not have been terminally ill at all.
David Hunter, 74, allegedly suffocated his wife Janice because she was suffering from a terminal case of leukemia and was in tremendous pain. In an email to his brother, David admitted to killing Janice, saying he did so because he wanted to end her suffering.
Though he previously had agreed to a plea deal of manslaughter, that case collapsed, and David is now being charged with murder. He has pled not guilty.
According to ITV News, Janice’s doctor, Dr. Ourania Seimeni, a specialist in hematology, told the court Tuesday that she had never diagnosed Janice with leukemia, but instead, the diagnosis was MDS, another form of blood cancer. “I didn’t see something that would make me tell her that she had leukemia,” Dr. Seimini said.
Dr. Seimeni testified to seeing Janice two days before her death. When prosecutors asked her if Janice’s condition was deadly at that time, Dr. Seimeni answered, “No, if her life was in danger I would not have let her leave.”
When asked, Dr. Seimeni also noted that she couldn’t have put a timeline as to how long Janice had to live, though David’s defense team is arguing that she had anywhere from two months to two years to live.
The doctor’s testimony puts further holes in David’s defense. His defense team had previously unsuccessfully sought to reduce his charge from murder to assisted suicide, and much of his argument centered around the claim that Janice was already terminally ill.
READ: Canadian assisted suicide rates surge 22 times higher than US
David’s defense team is expected to give evidence next week. His lawyer said his client is eager to share his side of the story.
“David can explain to all of us and why he acted as he did on Monday. He will get a sense about how she was feeling at the time this took place,” he said. “He’s been sitting there for such a long time listening to the evidence and not being able to respond to it.”
The case demonstrates what can happen when the concept of “legalized” killing begins to pervade society. In some places, assisted suicide and euthanasia are seen as acts of mercy, and these practices are even pushed rather than palliative care, which is designed to keep a person comfortable.
While David Hunter may have embraced the idea of “mercy killing,” euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in the country of Cyprus, where the couple had been living for 20 years.