David Hunter suffocating his wife was an act of love and mercy, his defence told court on Thursday, while the prosecution sought to tear down the argument, saying Hunter had given her a horrible and painful death which was certainly premeditated.

Both prosecution and defence presented their final legal arguments to Paphos criminal court during Thursday’s hearing, before the judges make a decision on the verdict.

“The facts of this case concern a crime of love and mercy,” said Ritsa Pekri, on Hunter’s defence team, making a brief statement and submitting the arguments in writing.

“There are no other cases similar to this in Cyprus’ legal history.”

She stressed there was no testimony throughout the trial that indicated violence between Hunter, 76, and his 74-year-old wife Janice Hunter, or that they did not love each other.

“No witness statements indicated he was fed up of taking care of his wife. Everyone said they loved each other and he looked after his wife.”

Hunter is currently on trial for the premeditated murder of his wife in December 2021. He has always maintained he killed her in their Tremithousa home to put an end to her suffering, as she lived with the painful consequences of her cancer.

State prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou made a number of arguments before the judges, saying that if it were accepted that Hunter had a deal with his wife that he would kill her, this was evidence that it was premeditated.

Defence had posited this deal could not point towards premeditation as he only agreed to placate his wife.

Furthermore, Hadjikyrou exclaimed Hunter had lied in court when he previously stated his wife had not resisted as he suffocated her to death.

“Why didn’t you ask her before killing her? Why didn’t you give her the chance to change her mind?”

Hadjikyrou stated the state pathologist’s report revealed Janice had resisted during the killing. Even if it was instinctive, the prosecutor accused Hunter of lying to the court when he previously stated “she just turned her head” during the ordeal.

“This is a lie. He said this lie to present to court that Janice wanted to be killed. That she consented to it and didn’t react.”

In light of the autopsy report that showed she resisted her death, “why did you keep at it for 10 minutes? She was there fighting back and shaking for 10 minutes. If you saw her resisting, why didn’t you stop and ask her what she wanted?”

Sitting in the courtroom in his black T-shirt, Hunter shook his head vehemently and was heard mumbling “rubbish”.

Hunter’s defence told the court Hunter had never denied the killing but the charge he should be facing is manslaughter because there was no proof of a concrete plan of him planning it out.

“He acted impulsively, and took that decision in that moment” on December 18, 2021 when he killed her, Pekri told court.

She stressed the two had discussed the possibility and pointed to the fact that after he killed her “he consumed every pill in the house” to try and kill himself.

“He did not go out to buy medicine that would guarantee he would die – he took what he found in the house.”

The prosecutor stated Hunter had changed his tune to suit whatever direction the court proceedings took, and cited Janice Hunter’s doctor’s testimony who had previously testified her patient was not terminally ill nor did she have leukemia, but instead MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), a rare type of blood cancer.

“What respite from pain did he offer her, when the way in which he killed her was more horrible than what she lived through?” Hadjikyrou said.

He said it was apparent that it was Hunter who could no longer bear to see his wife suffer but it was a decision he took so he would no longer have to witness her pain.

“Hunter’s excessive love to his wife, stripped Janice’s oxygen from her.”

The fact that he tried to kill himself afterwards was no indication that it was not premeditated, he added.

Hadjikyrou also quoted Hunter’s earlier testimony that he chose to suffocate her to death rather than give her pills because she was not capable of swallowing them.

“He thought of this, weighed it and decided what method to go for. Is this not an indication of premeditation?

The verdict will be announced on July 21 at Paphos criminal court.