David Hunter: Appeal begins after British expat convicted of killing wife in Cyprus and then walked free from jail

Prosecutors in Cyprus have begun their appeal case against the verdict and sentence of a British expat who killed his seriously ill wife.

David Hunter was released from prison on 31 July, after he was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to two years behind bars.

The retired miner then walked free from Pathos District Court having already served 19 months in jail.

Mr Hunter, 76, from Ashington, Northumberland, told his trial he suffocated his wife of 52 years, Janice, after she "begged" him to, as she was living with blood cancer.

The defence case was accepted by a three-judge panel, saying he acted "out of love".

He was released within 15 minutes of being sentenced in Pathos, as a result of time already served and his good behaviour.

Now at the Court of Appeal in Nicosia, the prosecution is arguing against Mr Hunter's murder acquittal and his sentence for manslaughter.

Michael Polak, director of Justice Abroad, which is representing Mr Hunter, said the prosecution was told to file its arguments within two months, with the defence getting two months after that to respond.

An appeal hearing will then take place around April or May next year.

Read more: British expat guilty of Cyprus mercy killing calls for law to be changed after prison release.

Mr Polak said: "After spending more than 19 months on trial and in custody in Nicosia prison, when the Assize Court of Paphos finally found David Hunter not guilty of murder in July and sentenced him for manslaughter resulting in his immediate release, we thought that the legal proceedings were over for him.

"For anyone, but especially someone of David's age, it is obviously very stressful to have the possibility of being sent back to prison for life hanging over their head.

"Although we are disappointed with the decision to pursue David further, we will continue to fight for David, and we thank everyone from Cyprus, the United Kingdom, and around the world who have been supporting him so strongly."