The daughter of a man accused of murdering his terminally-ill wife is hoping the judges will be compassionate as a Cypriot court prepares to deliver its verdict.

David Hunter, 76, is on trial in Cyprus for the premeditated murder of his wife Janice, 74, who died of asphyxiation at the couple’s home near Paphos in December 2021.

The couple’s daughter Lesley Cawthorne, 49 and from Norwich, has supported her father over what he claims was assisted suicide, saying her mother had been terminally ill with blood cancer and in “terrible pain and suffering”.

On Friday, a three-judge panel will deliver its verdict on whether Mr Hunter committed premeditated murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

Eastern Daily Press: David Hunter outside court in CyprusDavid Hunter outside court in Cyprus (Image: PA)

"I'm really lucky," Ms Cawthorne said. "We're in regular contact, we speak about five times a week.

"We need each other, we need that contact.

“He is anxious, tired and lonely, the past 19 months have taken a huge toll on him.

“I think the hope has been crushed out of him

“He would probably tell other people he’s keeping his chin up but I see how much he’s struggling.

"I'm trying to brace myself for the worst but really hoping for the best.

"I'm hoping the judges will show compassion and help me put my family back together, give my dad back to me."

Eastern Daily Press: Lesley with her parents Janice and DavidLesley with her parents Janice and David (Image: Family handout)

Ms Cawthorne said the family has been “worn down” by the long trial and the court’s previous ruling that a confession Mr Hunter made when he was arrested could be used as evidence against him.

“He was very clearly not in his right mind when they took it,” she said.

The pensioner’s defence team argued his confession should have been inadmissible during the trial, claiming he was suffering from dissociation at the time, but a judge found Mr Hunter was lucid and dismissed the application.

Mr Hunter, originally from Northumberland, told the court in May: “For five or six weeks before she died she was asking me to help her. She was asking more every day.

“In the last week, she was crying and begging.

“I didn’t want to do it. I said no."

He said he eventually decided to grant his wife’s wish after she became “hysterical” and unable to take care of herself.

The pensioner told the court he tried to kill himself after his wife’s death.

When the police arrived to quiz him after his suicide bid failed, he said he “was interested in nothing”.

During closing speeches in June, Mr Hunter’s defence team said it was not a case of premeditated murder and Mr Hunter “acted spontaneously” to end Mrs Hunter’s life “upon her begging him to do so”.

Michael Polak, director of Justice Abroad, which is representing Mr Hunter, told reporters: “This remains a tragic case. Janice and David were loving partners for over 50 years and enjoyed their retirement together in Cyprus until she became ill and was in excruciating pain.

“We remain hopeful that David will receive a verdict that does not deny him a chance of leaving prison and returning home.”