A BRITISH pensioner accused of murdering his terminally ill wife has told a court she "cried and begged" him to end her life.

David Hunter, 76, wept as he relived the moments before his cancer-stricken wife Janice died in his arms as he gave testimony in Cyprus.

Hunter, from Northumberland, has been locked up in Nicosia Central prison for more than a year after admitting to using his bare hands to smother his wife of 56 years Janice in December 2021.

But the grandad insisted in court on Monday that Janice, 74, had pleaded with him to take her life because of the excruciating pain she was in.

Retired miner Hunter said: "For six weeks she begged me to help her end her life. I didn't want to.

"I had lived with her for 57 years. Our relationship was perfect. I loved her."

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Wearing a dark shirt, trainers and black jeans, Hunter told the three-member court his wife had been locked in their rented home in a village above Paphos for three years.

Janice was forced to wear nappies because of the side effects of medication and had lost all interest in life.

Hunter added: "She was in such pain. She had undergone so many other operations on her face ( for skin cancer) and her hands and knees and feet.

"I felt so helpless and hopeless that I couldn't do anything for her.

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"In the last week, she was crying and begging me. Every day she asked me a bit more intensely to do it.

"The last week, she started crying. She started crying and begging me.

"She said, 'I can't go on. This life isn't for me. We just go to the hospital and stay at home. I don't have any quality of life and I'm totally bored of this. I can't go on'.

"She started becoming hysterical so I said, 'Yes, I'll help you'."

The Brit occasionally sobbed as he relayed the traumatic finals days of his wife's life – but as he spoke judge Michalis Droussiotis nodded off, shocking a courtroom filled with reporters.

Michal Polak, the barrister who heads Justice Abroad, the legal aid group that helps Britons abroad and had flown in for the trial, said David had waited a "long time to have his side of events heard".

He added: "Only he was there. Only he knows what really happened.

"This is a very sad, very tragic case. David and Janice were in a long-lasting loving marriage."

Hunter confessed to blocking Janice’s air passages – but insists he only did so after giving in to her pleas to be put out of the agonising pain she was suffering as a result of worsening leukaemia.

The couple, originally from Ashington, were teenage sweethearts and had been together for more than 50 years when they retired to Tremithousa, a popular village outside Paphos.

Hunter, who faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars, tried to commit suicide by overdosing on prescription pills moments after informing his brother, back home, about what had happened.

When police turned up at the villa he was slumped in a white leather chair next to the woman he called the "love of my life".

Hunter also told the court how his wife’s sister Kathryn had died 30 years earlier from the same disease and how Janice, who had looked after her in hospital, had said: "If I ever have this illness I don't want to live."

As he was cross-examined by the state prosecutor handling the case, Hunter cracked with emotion as he was shown pictures of the crime scene.

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He said: " I can't remember anything of what I said to anyone who came that night."

Shown packages of the pills he had taken in a bid to end his own life he said: "After what happened I didn't want to live anymore."

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