A woman whose husband has said her death was assisted suicide might not have had a terminal illness, a court in Cyprus has heard.

Janice Hunter, 74, died in December 2021 at home near Paphos.

Her 75-year-old husband David, a retired Northumberland miner, denies murdering her and his lawyers said she had begged him to end her life.

Mrs Hunter’s doctor told the court she had a rare blood cancer, but might not have had terminal leukaemia.

Mr Hunter has admitted killing his wife but a plea deal on a lesser charge of manslaughter collapsed in December and he is now being tried for her murder.

Haematologist Dr Ourania Seimeni said her patient had myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which was not necessarily terminal.

However, she told the court 30% of MDS cases do lead to leukaemia.

Another doctor who gave evidence on Monday, Dr Andreas Pantelides, put the figure at about 45%, which Dr Seimeni attributed to different literature.

The haematologist told the court she could not say how long her patient had to live – whether it was two months, two years or more.

Janice and David Hunter had been together for 56 years

Dr Seimeni said Mrs Hunter had become increasingly agitated with injections and blood transfusions, which were to help with anaemia, a common symptom of MDS.

Her patient had lost weight, complained of pain and had diarrhoea, so she recommended a colonoscopy to assess the cause.

She told the trial she also planned a myelogram, which is used to test for leukaemia.

Mrs Hunter did not go to the appointment on 9 November, but returned for her next blood transfusion about two weeks later, the court heard.

Without the myelogram, Dr Seimeni said she could not conclusively state whether Mrs Hunter had leukaemia or not.

She told the court Mr Hunter had gone with his wife to every appointment.

The couple moved from Ashington to Paphos 20 years ago.

Mr Hunter, who denies murder, is expected to give evidence on 15 May.

The trial continues.


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