I know how I feel about the man in this story: I have complete and utter empathy.
Tender love letters have emerged that show the devotion of a British pensioner to the wife he is accused of murdering.
David Hunter, 74, is due to stand trial in Cyprus today after the alleged mercy killing of his terminally-ill wife of 56 years, Janice, 75, last year.
UK lawyers have written to the island’s attorney general asking prosecutors to reduce the charge to assisting suicide amid family pleas to ‘show some compassion’ but have received no reply.
Mr Hunter will die in prison if found guilty of murder.
As to Janice Hunter’s condition:
Mrs Hunter had been suffering from leukaemia since 2016 and her health deteriorated rapidly in the months before her death.
She was losing her sight, couldn’t eat or drink and had constant diarrhoea that meant she needed nappies – but was only given paracetamol by doctors.
Mr Hunter allegedly suffocated her before trying to take his own life by overdosing on sleeping medication in an apparent suicide pact.
And she was quite clear about her feelings:
He has since told his daughter, Lesley, 49, that his wife made her wishes to die clear and talked about it every day in the last six weeks of her life.
‘To begin with, he tried to dissuade her, then he said he would go with her,’ she said. ‘He loved her so much… I’m horrified they were so desperate they thought that dying together was the only way out.’
As you all know, I was in a similar situation when Connie was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her condition worsened almost daily. We had so many drugs in the house that it would have been easy for her to overdose; and because she was in a drug-induced fog most of the time, she was quite capable of OD’ing through pure confusion — which is why I took over the job of giving her the drugs — and therefore I could have deliberately given her an overdose which would have ended her life.
And I want to be perfectly clear about this: had she asked me to, I would have, even though my conscience would have scourged me every day for the rest of my life.
As it happened, that fortunately never became an issue.
However, New Wife is a cancer survivor, which means the bastard can always return and cause her massive suffering. We’ve talked about this often, as her late husband suffered and died from throat cancer — his last months of life having had as much suffering as Connie had from hers — and so both New Wife and I have had the most intimate experience with this situation.
And we want no part of it.
Fortunately, we’re both in decent health (for our age), so the immediate future so far does not look that dire; but as everyone at our end of the age spectrum knows, that’s a precarious situation. Both of us have a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) document should it be needed, and we also have a (very private) agreement to cover the “Hunter” situation. Neither of us wants to go through a painful and irreversible illness, both for ourselves and for the strain it puts on the other spouse, and that’s all I’m going to say on the topic.