One of the first people to arrive on the scene after a Paphos-based Briton killed his wife, an ambulance driver said when he arrived at the house in December 2021 she showed no signs of life, a court heard on Tuesday.

David Hunter, 74, is currently on trial for the murder of his terminally ill wife Janice in Tremithousa. Last month it appeared the charge would be reduced to manslaughter but the legal service put a stop to this.

Hunter and his wife are believed to have formed a suicide pact, and he tried to take his own life as well as hers but was found after his brother in the UK received a note and alerted authorities.

On Tuesday, a former ambulance driver for the town’s general hospital told the Paphos district court he was one of the first people to arrive on the scene.

“The woman did not present any vital signs and, despite the ambulance crew’s efforts to resuscitate here, she was already in postmortem rigidity,” he said.

“Because the woman had to be examined by a forensic doctor, the crew did not move her.”

The witness added that Hunter allegedly told him that he killed his wife, who was suffering with leukaemia, by blocking her mouth and nose with his hands “because he could not bear to see her suffer anymore.”

“He also tried to take his own life by consuming a large amount of pills that he mixed with alcohol,” he said.

Hunter, however, according to the ambulance crew member, “was lucid during his transport to Paphos general hospital, despite refusing any treatment.”

The 74-year-old Briton’s defence lawyer Ritsa Pekri, nevertheless, argued that her client could not be lucid during the journey from his house to the hospital due to the dangerously high number of pills he had ingested.

“His state of mind did not allow him to understand what he was saying or indeed thinking,” Pekri said. “He could not understand what was going on at the time.”

Addressing the court after Hunter’s defence lawyer, state prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyriou argued that Hunter never agreed with his wife to kill her during the advanced phase of her illness, contradicting what Pekri stated during previous trials.

“The accused said that the murder was a result of an agreement between husband and wife, which the prosecution cannot accept, as it could set a dangerous judicial precedent for future cases,” Hadjikyriou said.

The trial is set to continue on Wednesday, as Hunter remains in custody, where he has been since his initial arrest.