WHEN British mother Caroline Crouch was found murdered in her Athens home, her husband told cops she had been killed in a failed robbery.
But when his story slowly unfolded, the pilot made a confession that shocked the world.
Babis Anagnostopoulos, 34, is accused of suffocating his 20-year-old wife to death last year in front of their baby daughter and planning a burglary to blame it on an Albanian gang.
In the weeks that followed, Babis continued his charade, weeping to reporters, visiting his wife’s grave with their daughter, Lydia, and comforting Caroline’s heartbroken parents.
Police became suspicious when his story began to unravel during an eight-hour interrogation before he was finally arrested on June 17.
He is due to stand trial tomorrow for premeditated murder, filing a false police report, and murdering the family dog in an attempt to make the burglary more convincing.
He will face a jury at the Athens Court Complex after being held in Korydallos high security prison.
The father later said he regretted his actions and would try to prove the murder was not premeditated in order to avoid a life sentence.
He told cops at the time: “I didn’t want to go to jail, because I wanted to raise my daughter,” the 33-year-old reportedly told detectives.
Speaking to Sun Online ahead of trial, Crouch family lawyer Thanassis Haramanis said: “The confessed perpetrator of this crime has already proven he will do anything to reduce his sentence.
“That’s his goal, and we’ll see it play out in court. But we are confident and optimistic that justice will be served. He can’t hide. »
Here are some of the main claims he could face when appearing in the dock.
In the early hours of May 12, 2021, Babis called Greek police around 6 a.m. to say intruders had entered the couple’s home.
The pilot told police how he ‘begged’ the intruders who allegedly broke into the house not to harm his family moments before he strangled Crouch to death in front of their 11-month-old baby.
He had said he heard her desperate cries from the next room where he had been bound by the evil gang.
He explained how he called for help using his nose, but detectives who tested this theory said the method was virtually impossible.
Thanasis Katerinopoulos, a retired Greek policeman who worked on the case, said: “Let me show you that I tried to dial a number on my mobile phone, using my nose with my eyes open.
“I never managed to do that and wondered how he managed to call the police using his nose. »
Babis then staged an elaborate botched robbery, placing baby Lydia next to her dead mother’s body, drowning the dog before hanging her body from the stairs and ransacking the house.
He even told police £10,000 had been taken from a Monoply box – money saved to complete work on a new home the couple hoped to build.
He told reporters outside the house at the time: “They tied us up while we told them where the money was.
“I realized my wife was not alive when the police released me.
“My daughter, fortunately, was not affected. She went to the hospital as a precaution and luckily she is fine. »
Investigator Nikos Rigas told state television that Anagnostopoulos had “tried to create a crime scene…that looked convincing.”
Greek cops spent weeks searching for a fictional Albanian gang before finally realizing Babis’ story didn’t fit.
He was arrested just hours after attending Caroline’s memorial service where chilling footage showed him standing at his wife’s grave holding the couple’s baby daughter.
One piece of evidence that could allegedly discredit the pilot’s timeline of events was that the couple’s security camera memory card was removed at 1.20am – two and a half hours before Caroline died.
Babis claimed that on May 11, 2021, the thieves broke into the family home nearly five hours later and destroyed the surveillance device as they entered.
However, the latest CCTV image shows him sitting on the sofa cradling his 11-month-old daughter at 12.35am as he texted Caroline who was in the attic.
The memory card was later collected from home after being broken and flushed down the toilet.
On the night of Caroline’s tragic death, Babis was also tracked by her mobile phone, revealing her movements around the house in the Athens suburb of Glyka Nera.
The app showed repeated trips from the attic to the basement around 5 a.m., the same time he claimed he had been tied down by the Albanian thieves.
He also told cops he was unconscious for 30 minutes due to duct tape tied around his neck.
Other data appeared to show he was active on his cell phone while he was allegedly tied to the bed.
Cops could also claim that Caroline’s biometric watch, which recorded her pulse, could reveal more crucial information about what happened the night of the murder.
At 4:01 a.m., Caroline’s smartwatch registered sudden intense cardiac stimulation before her heart stopped beating at 4:11 a.m.
The pilot is then accused of depositing their baby girl next to her mother’s body in an attempt to make the staged robbery more convincing.
He is then believed to have drowned the couple’s puppy, Roxy, before hanging her body from the stairs.
The young Briton’s harrowing diary gave cops insight into the couple’s relationship before Caroline’s death when she appeared to be using code words to record the horrific abuse she suffered.
Although only small portions of the haunting diary have been published, a number of entries reveal the woman’s plans to leave her abusive partner.
In a chilling entry from December 2019, Caroline wrote, “I fought with Babi again. This time it was serious.
“I hit him, I insulted him and he broke down the door.
“All I wanted was for him to ask me how I was when I woke up. I woke up so weak and tired.
“I’m thinking of leaving. I’m thinking of going to my sister’s, I don’t know if I can continue with Babi.
“I love him so much that I can’t leave him even though this relationship hurts me. »
Another diary entry a month after the birth of baby Lydia, in July 2020, reads: “Today my little one is one month old – it’s also the day I told Babi I wanted leave… I feel bad. »
Caroline has stated in a number of entries that she planned to leave Babis before she got pregnant but ultimately “stayed with him because I didn’t want my daughter to grow up without her parents”.
According to Caroline’s phone messages, she had texted her friend the night she died, telling them she planned to leave Babis.
Detectives also revealed that the young mum had tried to book herself into a hotel that evening.
According to local media, a total of nineteen witnesses were called to testify, including Caroline’s friends, the couple’s neighbor, police officers who arrived at the scene and the medical examiner who performed the autopsy.
The couple’s mental health counselor, Eleni Mylonopoulou, who is also set to testify, previously claimed that Caroline confided in her about her relationship with Babis, as well as her suspicions about other women in her life.
Caroline’s heartbroken father told the Mail Online: ‘I understand that Babis will use as a defense that he was provoked by Caroline and was acting in self-defence.
“He will also cite his martial arts skills. This is unlikely to fly as she had been sleeping for several hours when he killed her.
“I just wish I could get my hands on the little weasel.
How to get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Connect with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarize yourself with the silent solution, report abuse without speaking on the phone, by dialing “55” instead.
- Always keep some cash with you, including change for a public phone or a bus ticket.
- If you think your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower risk area of the house, such as where there is an exit and access to a phone.
- Avoid the kitchen and the garage, where there are probably knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might be trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be locked in a closet or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, SupportLine is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email helpline is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the free 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
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Five bombshells claim Caroline Crouch’s husband could face trial after ‘killing his British wife and planning a burglary’ – Reuters News in France and abroad