Moment David Hunter visits wife's grave after she begged him to end her life

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Moment David Hunter visits wife
Moment David Hunter visits wife's grave after she begged him to end her life

Nineteen months after he ended the long suffering of his terminally ill wife, David Hunter is finally reunited with childhood sweetheart Janice. Walking slowly into the cemetery clutching flowers for his love, David, 76, scoured the grounds for her name.

Yesterday (Tues) was the first time David had been able to visit her grave. He finally spots where Janice is lying and walks slowly towards her, before taking a knee and bowing his head in the baking heat of Tremithousa, the Cypriot village where he lived with his wife of 52-years.

David, who gave permission for us to be present during his emotional visit, gently placed his flowers before looking up to read the words engraved upon a plaque on a small, white cross, which say: “Janice Lesley Hunter. Beloved wife of David, beloved mum of Lesley. ‘Goodnight sweetheart’.”

An emotional David said yesterday morning: “I’ve wanted to visit the grave for a while, but of course I felt apprehensive – I knew I would be.

Moment David Hunter visits wife's grave after she begged him to end her life eideziqkeiqhhinvAfter being freed yesterday, David was able to visit the grave for the first time (Humphrey Nemar)

“But then when you see the grave, you really know that she’s there – and that hurts. I felt very emotional today, but I did feel a sense of relief. I know it’s going to be hard, but I feel that she can rest in peace now all of this is over.

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“She chose this cemetery years ago, once she knew she was very ill and she was not going to get better. She wanted to integrate fully with the village and this was her way of doing it I suppose. This is my home now. My grave is here.”

David was released on Monday after serving 19-months in Nicosia prison. He was last month found not guilty of the premeditated murder of 74-year-old Janice in December 2021 but guilty of her manslaughter. David, a retired miner from Ashington in Northumberland, was handed a two-year sentence but taking into account time served and good behaviour, he was able to walk free.

Daughter Lesley, 50, who is unable to travel due to a health condition, told the Mirror from the UK: “I’m so glad he got to go and see my mum at last and be reunited with her.

“It’s all very surreal, I went to bed in tears last night (Mon). I think we now just need a couple of weeks to get used to the fact that this burden of him being in prison has been lifted. We need time to decompress and grieve for mum and rebuild our lives.”

Moment David Hunter visits wife's grave after she begged him to end her lifeDavid suffocated his terminally wife after she begged him to (Humphrey Nemar)

The Mirror has covered the case from Cyprus for well over a year. To say that it was emotional to watch David, a frail man of 76, search confusedly for the grave of his wife, would be an understatement.

We have observed for 18-months as David has gradually lost more weight each court appearance. There were genuine concerns from his family that he might not last the trial.

Unlike in UK courts, we have been able to speak to David sporadically before and after hearings. He told us earlier this year how he wished to remain in Cyprus to be near Janice, should he be freed. A true gentleman, he would always greet the media, his legal team and translators with a handshake.

His jail in Nicosia is more than a 90-minute drive to the court in Paphos. He has made the journey in the back of a police van, crammed with other inmates, dozens of times as the case dragged on, a day here and a day there.

Sometimes David would be in court for two minutes only for it to be adjourned, before embarking straight away on another sweltering drive back to his jail cell. Regular adjournments and legal wrangling behind closed doors over the first case of its kind in Cyprus meant a long, frustrating trial.

Moment David Hunter visits wife's grave after she begged him to end her lifeUpon entering the cemetery, David had to find his wife's grave before he could lay flowers down in memory of her (Humphrey Nemar)

Somehow - incredibly - David has managed to maintain his focus. With a true miner’s spirit, he has remained as solid as a rock and, when the time came for him to tell his side of the story, he blew the court away. Back in May, the court heard heartbreaking testimony from David as he described the moment he ended Janice’s suffering.

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He broke down in tears as he remembered how Janice “cried and begged” for him to kill her as her blood cancer deteriorated. He refused to do so until one day he agreed in the hope it would calm her. He insisted he had no intention of carrying out the act. But nine days later, on December 18 2021, David pressed his hands over his wife’s mouth and nose.

David wept as he told the court: "Fifty seven years - the last thing I would want to do is to kill my wife. It was her decision that she wanted to die, not mine - hers. It was her decision that she didn’t want any more treatment.

"She has her own mind and she asked me. I would never in a million years have done it. She wasn’t just my wife - she was my best friend. I didn’t just decide to kill her. I loved her so much. I still love her. You don’t know what we went through. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone."

David said he stood up from his seat in their retirement home in Tremithousa, and walked towards the kettle to make a coffee. Janice remained seated, sobbing. David found himself gripping a kitchen bench with both hands as he listened to his wife cry uncontrollably.

“I turned to my wife and she was still crying,” David said with tears in his eyes. “The next thing I knew I put my hands here (over her nose and mouth) and when it finished she was a grey colour. She didn’t look like my wife at all and it was the first time I cried after many years.”

Villagers in Tremithousa have said they would welcome David back with open arms. As his grieving process can truly begin, he will need all the support he can get.

Cyprus

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