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Man charged with wife’s murder, claims it was assisted suicide

fentanyl, assisted suicide, DNR, Scotland

Janice Hunter, a 75-year-old British woman suffering from blood cancer, died recently at the hands of her husband, as reported by the Daily Mail. David Hunter, 74, a former miner, allegedly suffocated his ill wife. He claims he took her life because her illness was worsening, and she was in tremendous pain. The pair lived in Cyprus and had been married for 52 years.

According to Mr. Hunter, Janice had been given a terminal diagnosis and desired to die peacefully. The same type of Leukemia ended her sister’s life in 1987 and Mrs. Hunter couldn’t bear the thought of enduring chemotherapy after observing its effects on her sister. Mrs. Hunter’s health declined rapidly in the months prior to her death, and she reportedly felt that she no longer had any quality of life.

On December 18, 2021, Mr. Hunter emailed his brother admitting to killing his wife because he wanted to end her suffering. The email also spoke of his own suicide attempt by overdose.

After receiving the email, police were alerted and descended upon the couple’s home where Mrs. Hunter was found, sitting in a chair, with apparent suffocation marks on her face. It was reported by local media that Mr. Hunter was “clinging to life nearby.” Due to Mr. Hunter’s confession and attempted suicide, local judicial officials ordered him to be treated temporarily at a psychiatric facility.

READ: Pope Francis calls for better palliative care, not assisted suicide: ‘Life is a right, not death’

Mr. Hunter has been charged with premeditated murder and faces life imprisonment. On Thursday, February 9, 2022, Hunter pled not guilty to the murder charge at Paphos District Court. His attorneys, a panel of British lawyers, are asking the Cypriot Attorney General to change the charge to assisted suicide.

It remains unclear whether Hunter’s decision to terminate his wife’s life was premeditated or whether he had his wife’s consent. Hunter’s trial will begin on April 18, 2022.

The Cypriot Parliament has been debating on the legalization of euthanasia, which is a taboo subject for the Greek Orthodox Community, the island’s prevalent religion. Euthanasia is currently illegal on the island where the couple has lived for 20 years. 

According to the BBC, the couple’s daughter, Lesley Cawthorne, has created an online crowdfunding campaign on the Crowd Justice website to raise money for her father’s legal fees. “My dad devoted himself to caring for my mum,” she said in a statement. “He loved my mom. He never lifted a hand to her. He cherished her and cared for her. He did everything for her.”

When people ask if she forgives him, she replies, “There is nothing to forgive.”

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