Greek pilot found guilty of murdering young British wife in front of their baby and hanging their pet dog
A Greek helicopter pilot who admitted to murdering his young British wife in front of their baby girl and hanging their dog has been found guilty of murder in Greece.
Confessing in court, Babis Anagnostopoulos, 34, insisted that his killing of Caroline Crouch was the result anger, a momentary lapse that happened after a domestic fight between the pair. According to the laws of Greece, he now faces a maximum of 35 years in prison.
At first, Babis claimed that three robbers had burst into their home north of Athens, tying him to a chair, stringing up their puppy from a banister and strangling his wife in front of their 11-month-old daughter, Lydia, but police had doubts about his statements and continued to investigate.
For over a month, Babis who was trained to fly helicopters in the UK, stuck to the lie and even delivered a eulogy at her funeral, until police uncovered evidence that proved his statement was false, based on data from his mobile phone and Ms Crouch’s smartwatch that revealed inconsistencies in his account.
Information from his mobile phone showed that he was moving around the house at the time he claimed he had been trussed up by the supposed robbers.
Anagnostopoulos was arrested and charged with murder, perverting the course of justice and the killing of an animal. He was found guilty on all charges, up to 25 years in jail for killing his wife, plus a separate maximum 10-year-sentence for killing the family dog.
He confessed to smothering 20-year-old Ms Crouch but said it was done in a “blurred state of mind”.
The key role played by technology in solving the crime was recognised during the trial by the prosecutor and judge.
“Thankfully he didn’t think to remove her smartwatch, which gave us valuable data. I call this divine retribution,” said Evgenia Stathoulopoulou, a prosecutor.
Thanasis Harmanis, the lawyer for Ms Crouch’s family, said that “if the crime had occurred 40 years ago, it would be unresolved.”
During a six-week trial which ended today, May 16, the court heard that the couple was seeing a therapist in the months before the murder.
Ms Crouch was born in Liverpool but grew up on the Aegean island of Alonissos, and she told the therapist that she was “suffocating” in the marriage.
She said her husband whom she had knowns since she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl had become narcissistic, controlling and manipulative.
The court heard how Anagnostopoulos had flown a helicopter over her school to try to “dazzle” her during their courtship.
“She didn’t have any money on her, not even five euros. She couldn’t even move around on her own, she could only travel in a taxi driven by a friend of Babis,” therapist Eleni Mylonopoulou told the court.
“I was very clear in my advice that she should leave him, because this could turn out dangerous for her,” Ms Mylonopoulou said.
At one point, Ms Crouch told Ms Mylonopoulou: “‘I can’t stand it anymore. I am suffocating.’”
A psychiatrist who reviewed the case said Anagnostopoulos displayed a deep lack of empathy.
“It’s a very barbaric thing to place the baby on her mother’s body. Babies at this age have an acute sense through smell and touch. There is also a lack of empathy in the fact he killed the dog,” said Alkisti Igoumenaki.
There was “premeditation and preparation” in his killing of his young wife, who had come to find him increasingly possessive.
“Premeditation does not mean that he prepared it a year ago. It could be in the last five minutes. When someone thinks ‘this is how I’m going to do it’, it’s premeditation.
“What we see in Caroline is a girl who fell in love, in the way a teenage girl does, and then started to wish for independence. Caroline began to grow up. She felt caged.”
Smothering his wife to death would have taken at least five minutes, the court heard. The death of the seven-month old puppy would have been protracted as well.
“He didn’t take a gun and shoot them. He could see them dying,” said Ms Igoumenaki.
Evi Kormikiari, another prosecutor, said the killing of the dog was wicked.
“I have never seen an owner do something like this. I’ve seen shootings, stabbings, but nothing so cold as this. Hanging is one of the most atrocious ways to kill an animal.”
“The defendant knew the dog was dying but he was too busy directing the ‘robbery’”.
“There is no excuse…what has been lost is irreplaceable. Neither Caroline nor our dog deserved it,” The defendant told the court. “There are not enough times that I can say sorry
From the day that I lost Caroline, I lost everything. I lost my life. I hope that God will forgive me. I will never forgive myself.”
He admitted to hanging the pet dog, Roxy, from a banister in their two-storey home.
The couple’s daughter, Lydia, is being brought up by Miss Crouch’s British father and her Filipina mother on Alonissos.
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