David Hunter, 75, is currently in a Cypriot prison while he awaits trial for the “mercy killing” of his terminally ill wife Janice, who had blood cancer
A British man awaiting trial in a Cyprus jail after killing his ill wife in an alleged murder-suicide bid has vowed to fight and clear his name.
Ex-miner David Hunter, 75, says the first thing he will do once free is to visit his beloved wife Janice’s grave.
Speaking from his jail in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, David revealed how cops would not let him watch his wife’s funeral procession when he was briefly taken back to their home in the village of Tremithousa in Paphos on January 5.
Agonisingly, he said he even saw the funeral cortege appear around the corner – but was bundled into a police car so he could not pay his respects.
David, from Ashington in Northumberland, is facing a life sentence if found guilty of the premeditated murder of terminally ill Janice, his 75-year-old wife of 52 years.
He says they had a suicide pact but after David smothered her he failed in his attempt to take his own life with a concoction of drink and drugs.
Pals Barry Kent and Kevin Barnfather, who used to work with David as miners in Northumberland, said David told them he is living mostly on Twixes and Kit Kat bars because the food is so bad in the Nicosia Central Prison.
The pair, who travelled from England to support David in his Paphos court appearance last week, visited him on Saturday.
Barry, 66, told the Mirror afterwards: “When we talked about what he’ll do when – not if – when he gets out, he said ‘I’m doing nothing before I go and see Janice and put flowers on her grave’.”
After the events of December 18, David told his daughter, Lesley Cawthorne, he did not want to live.
But, despite their worries about his dramatic weight loss, his friends say David has fight left in him.
“He tried to kill himself and was obviously in an incredibly bad way,” Barry said.
“But he is now a bit stronger and is adamant he’s going to fight for a not guilty verdict.
“He knows he’s not guilty of murder.”
David’s trial was adjourned on Thursday to begin in September.
“He’s pretty down and, although he always puts a brave face on, you can tell he’s hurting,” Barry said.
“It’s like going back in time inside that prison. The sort you’d see in films or TV programmes in 1970s.
“All the food is boiled, like boiled chicken legs. Which he tends to feed to the prison cat it’s that bad.”
There is a small exercise yard where David tries to walk two kilometres per day.
Because he is on remand he cannot carry out any work in the prison like the convicted inmates.
To help with the boredom, Barry and Kevin took a set of dominos for David but prison guards would not allow them to give them to him.
“Every day he’s getting older and more tired,” Barry said.
When police took him home briefly earlier this year, it was the same day as Janice’s funeral, they said.
“David told them the funeral cortege would be coming through the village in five minutes,” said Barry.
“He saw the first car coming up the road and asked if he could watch but they bundled him into a police car and took him back to prison.
“I mean for the sake of a couple of minutes? It seems so backward to me. Everything does here.
“It’s all so painfully slow. We’re sitting here talking to an old friend and he’s just getting more tired.
“Will he even get to the day of the trial? Something’s got to change.”
David described to them the agony Janice was in as her blood cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2016, took hold.
“One day she told him ‘David, I cannot walk anymore’,” Barry said.
“David brought her downstairs one step at a time and she never went back up after that.”
Kevin, 58, added: “He told us he pushed two reclining chairs together and slept with her there for months. He misses her incredibly.”
Barry and Kevin said David wanted to thank everybody back home for their support.
A CrowdJustice page set up to raise money for the legal fees has now raised almost £24,000.
Brit accused of 'mercy killing' vows to fight so he can visit wife's grave