The daughter of a British man accused of murdering his terminally ill wife in Cyprus fears he will die before facing trial after the case was delayed by more than three months.
David Hunter was set to face trial today for the death of his wife Janice, 75, in their flat on the… Island last December.
Mrs. Hunter, who had terminal blood cancer, is said to have been asphyxiated by her husband, who then tried to end his own life by taking an overdose, but survived.
Hunter says his wife “made her wishes clear” and “wanted it to end” because she didn’t want a “long, protracted death,” according to their daughter.
The retired miner, originally from Northumberlandappeared in Paphos court on Thursday but was told his murder trial had been postponed to September 19.
The couple’s daughter, who had urged judges to show “compassion” to her father, she told Sky News she was “extremely disappointed” at the delay and “mercifully angry”.
Lesley Cawthorne said: “My dad is an older man and he’s not doing well and that’s an incredibly long delay.
“It has been nine months since my mother died, so they will have kept my father – who is not a risk to anyone – for nine months.”
Ms Cawthorne, who was unable to travel to Cyprus for the trial due to her health, said the reasons for the delay included another case spiraling out of control and a “summer vacation” for the judges.
“I hope they enjoy their summer vacation because our family won’t enjoy ours,” she said.
“I think justice is more important than a holiday.
“Honestly, I’m worried that my 75-year-old father with a history of stroke will die before we go to court — that’s what worries me.”
Ms Cawthorne, who lives in Norwich, said her father “seemed very good-humoured” ahead of the hearing but was “saddened” after the postponement.
“He just wanted to know what his fate will be,” she said.
“It’s cruel to torture him like that. It just takes the pain away for us.”
She added: “We had a great chat yesterday – my dad and I – and he really prepared himself mentally.
“He wanted the trial to continue today. He wanted to be able to share his story.
“He wanted people to understand what my mother had been through. He really wanted that chance to tell my mother’s story.
“He’s built up for it and that opportunity is now gone. It’s incredibly disappointing.”
Ms. Cawthorne said she now expected the trial to continue next year after the September hearing.
Her parents, who had been together for 56 years and were teenage sweethearts, had moved to Cyprus 20 years ago after their retirement.
In later life, Ms Hunter had been in severe pain from a range of health problems and her quality of life was “nonexistent” in her final weeks, her daughter said.
After Mr Hunter was charged with the murder of his wife, his lawyers wrote to the Cypriot Attorney General requesting that the charges be reduced to assisted suicide, but that request was denied.
Michael Polak, a lawyer and the director of Justice Abroad who supports Mr Hunter, said defense attorneys will urge judges at his trial to acquit him of murder.
He told Sky News: “It’s pretty clear to anyone looking at the case that this isn’t a case where murder is the most appropriate charge.
“We don’t think David deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison in Cyprus. He is a good man. He was with his wife for a very long time, they had a loving relationship for over 50 years.
“No one – even the people in Cyprus I’ve spoken to – thinks he deserves to be tried for murder.”