A BRITISH grandad held for an alleged mercy killing says he is wasting away in a hellish prison with 12 men to a cell.
David Hunter, 75, has been locked up for more than a year in Cyprus accused of murdering cancer-stricken wife Janice, 76.
5David Hunter admits suffocating his terminally ill wife JaniceCredit: Facebook5He has appeared thin and frail at court as his trial was repeatedly delayedCredit: PA5Hunter says he shares a cell with 11 other men at Nicosia Central PrisonCredit: Katia Christodoulou – Cyprus MailHe described the moment he suffocated her as “like being in a dream” when he finally gave evidence earlier this month.
But the long-delayed trail was postponed again, and he is now languishing in a high-security jail in Nicosia.
He said he has lost weight dramatically – more than three stone – because the food is so grim he can hardly swallow any.
Hunter told The Sun from behind bars: “It’s hard to eat when you don’t like the food.
“It’s cold and greasy and usually cooked hours before.”
And he added: “It’s very deflating all this waiting and I take every day at a time.”
The retired miner, from Northumberland, has appeared increasingly frail during a trial that has been adjourned eight times so far.
By the time the pensioner sat shivering in court last week, after being held in freezing cells for over an hour, it was the twelfth time judges had convened to hear the case.
He has admitted using his bare hands to smother wife of 56 years Janice in December 2021.
But says he only agreed to do it after she “begged me for weeks” to end her excruciating pain from advanced leukaemia.
“I would never have hurt her,” he said. “She wasn’t just my wife, she was my best friend.”
He said Janice’s sister had died from the same disease so “she knew what was coming”.
Police rushed to the couple’s rented home near Paphos after Hunter called his brother saying he had attempted suicide.
Harrowing video played to the court this month showed him on the phone to daughter Lesley Cawthorne as she begged him not to end his life.
“Daddy, daddy, just concentrate on me. Just concentrate on me,” she is heard saying in a call filmed by a family member at her home in Norfolk.
“Forget about everybody else, just concentrate on me. Daddy you love me.
“I’m your little girl, concentrate on me. You cannot leave … Daddy don’t leave me.”
The video was shown at the request of the defence to prove his vulnerable mental state.
They say he was made to give police statements within hours of having his stomach pumped in hospital, and want them ruled out as evidence.
It came after hopes of a plea bargain that would see the charge of premeditated murder reduced to manslaughter were dashed at the eleventh hour.
The island’s attorney general intervened in December, insisting the strict Orthodox Christian nation’s first euthanasia case should continue as a murder trial.
Proceedings were stalled again this week by a civil service strike.
“All this back and forth and then no progress, it does your head in,” said Hunter wearing the same black jeans, sweat shirt and gilet he has appeared in at every court appearance so far.
“Its hard. Very hard. I’m with eleven other men in the cell.
“There are six double bunks and on the other side a sink.
“Everyone treats me with the utmost respect, and the guards are good people.
“They all try and let me be because they know I need quiet, they know I need to think of my wife.
“I’ve got a little curtain in front of my bed and sometimes I get in and pull it across.”
Conditions for remand prisoners like him are said to be worse than for convicts, who at least have access to the exercise yard.
Hunter went on: “There’s a space under a canopy outside the cell. It’s not very big and you walk up and down, up and down.
“But the guards are really good and there’s a young Brit from Southampton who is there, who I can talk to, who makes me laugh.”
The worst thing, he said, was the sheer boredom of spending hours with almost nothing to do.
He said: “I read thrillers and spy novels that I request from the library but for a long time they were giving me love stories to read which is the last thing I want.”
Michael Polak, the British barrister whose London-based legal aid group Justice Abroad is coordinating his defence, says there is no reason to keep him locked up.
He told The Sun: “Obviously it is very difficult for David to be in a prison environment where he doesn’t have much space or privacy especially when he just wants to mourn his wife.
“There is no public interest in keeping him in jail. He has been through a lot.”
Hunter suffered a stroke after he and Janice retired to Cyprus 22 years ago.
If found guilty of premeditated murder he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
We have contacted Cyprus prison authorities for comment.
In November officials admitted rife drugs and organised crime led to an “uncontrolled and extremely dangerous situation” at Nicosia Central Prison.
Two wardens faced manslaughter charges and a third was charged with negligence after an inmate was murdered by a fellow lag in October.
It also featured on a Netflix documentary called Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons.
5Hunter said his beloved wife of 56 years ‘begged’ him to end her sufferingCredit: Facebook5His trial in Paphos has been delayed eight timesCredit: PA
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk