A court in Cyprus has ruled the confession of a British man to killing his terminally ill wife was obtained lawfully and can be used in evidence against him.
David Hunter, a 75-year-old retired coal miner from Northumberland, is on trial for premeditated murder after a plea deal on the lesser charge of manslaughter collapsed.
His wife Janice, 74, died of asphyxiation in December at the couple’s retirement home near the coastal resort of Paphos.
Hunter has admitted killing his wife but his legal team has argued it was assisted suicide at her request.
His defence lawyers had also said that his confession should be inadmissible as evidence in the trial.
They claimed he was not provided with his right to a lawyer or to remain silent before statements were taken from him when he was arrested on suspicion of killing his wife.
His lawyers had previously called a forensic psychiatrist to give evidence, who said that Hunter was suffering from dissociation at the time and that his statements to medics should be inadmissible against him.
But on Tuesday, a judge at Paphos District Court dismissed the defence’s application and ruled that Hunter’s statement would be admissible in his trial.
Image: David Hunter is facing trial in Cyprus accused of murdering his wife Janice. Pic: Lesley Cawthorne
Image: The house in Tremithousa, Cyprus where Janice Hunter was allegedly killed by her husband David The court found that Hunter was lucid at the time and was aware of what was happening, demonstrated by the fact he took pills and called his brother after allegedly killing his wife.
It added that at the time of his arrest, he recalled to police and his brother in detail how he smothered his wife because he wanted to end her suffering and how he subsequently took a mixture of pills to end his own life.
Michael Polak, of Justice Abroad, the group representing Hunter, said the pensioner is “shocked and dejected” at the decision.
“We called a forensic psychiatrist to give evidence and his evidence was totally rejected by the court,” he said.
“With regards to the right to a lawyer, European human rights law would require David to provide an unequivocal waiver of his right to a lawyer, and in this case there hasn’t been one.”
Hunter’s lawyers said he was acting on the wishes of his wife, who they say was terminally ill with blood cancer.
Image: The grave of Janice Hunter at the cemetery in Tremithousa, Cyprus Read more on Sky News:
Boris Johnson accepts he misled parliament over partygate
Met Police chief ’embarrassed’ by review
An agreement between the prosecution and defence to reduce the murder charge to manslaughter collapsed late last year after prosecutors would not accept Hunter’s claim that his wife asked him to end her life unless he provided proof.
State prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou told reporters: “If we accept this, every other man in the future who kills a woman will say ‘we had an agreement’.”
Mr Polak added that the defence team will apply to the Supreme Court of Cyprus for a judicial review of the decision, which could lead to the trial being paused ahead of the next scheduled hearing on 28 March.