Lawyers for a retired British miner facing a charge of murder in Cyprus are seeking to have it changed to assisting suicide.

David Hunter, 74, originally from Northumberland, is accused of killing his 75-year-old wife Janice at their flat in Paphos in December.

He is in custody in the city and due to stand trial in April.

His lawyers said Mrs Hunter had been suffering from terminal blood cancer and had wanted to die.

They said her husband tried to take his own life but survived and was then charged with murder.

Mr Hunter entered a not guilty plea at Paphos District Court.

Barrister Michael Polak, from the Justice Abroad organisation, said it would be writing to the Cypriot attorney general “asking for him to consider an alternative charge of assisting suicide”.

“At a time when the parliament of Cyprus is discussing the legalisation of euthanasia, and given the circumstances in this case, we will be submitting that assisting suicide would be a much more appropriate charge than murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence,” he said

A spokeswoman said the Cypriot Law Office was not able to comment on pending cases.

The couple’s daughter, Lesley Hunter, has launched an online fundraising campaign to raise money for her father’s defence.

“My dad devoted himself to caring for my mum,” she said in a statement.

“We need help to pay for the legal representation which will give him the best chance possible of being allowed to return to the United Kingdom to the people who love him and who can support him through his grief.”

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