Caroline Crouch’s heartbroken parents have been given custody of their baby after she was killed by her husband in Greece.
The British mother was suffocated by helicopter pilot Charalambos “Babis” Anagnostopoulos when her one-year-old daughter Lydia was lying nearby.
Lydia has lived with her paternal grandparents Georgia and Kostas Anagnostopoulos since the May 11 murder, but now a judge has ruled that she should be turned over to Caroline’s parents.
In an emotional handover, Georgia, a teacher, was seen carrying Lydia after the court ruling.
Anagnostopoulos originally claimed that his 20-year-old wife died in a robbery at her home in Glyka Nera, Athens.
However, he later admitted that the story was a cover-up after more than eight hours of interrogation, police say.
Last week, the 33-year-old said he wanted to raise his baby daughter out of prison.
But a court revoked his parental rights and transferred sole custody of the child to Caroline’s parents.
Lydia was carried to a car in Athens by Anagnostopoulos’ mother and brother Fotis around 9 a.m. Sun online reported.
The murderer’s mother held a bag with Lydia’s clothes and other items in her hand.
The handover of Lydia will be the first time Caroline’s mother, Susan Georgia, has seen face-to-face after Anagnostopoulos admitted killing Caroline.
Lydia will grow up on the island of Alonissos, where Caroline’s British father David and her Filipino mother Susan live. Caroline grew up here too.
Thanassis Harmanis, the Crouch family attorney, said raising Lydia Island should protect against hurtful comments.
He added: “In Athens she would be known as ‘the murderer’s child’.
“In Alonissos she would be the daughter of Caroline, whose life was wrongly shortened.”
Susan had previously applied for full custody of her granddaughter so that she is “not known as a killer daughter”.
Georgia and Kostas had applied for joint custody and requested to look after them for at least six months a year.
But the court ruled that they can see Lydia five times a week between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but only when they travel to Alonissos.
Georgia was also pictured taking Lydia away from her parents’ home after Caroline’s death.
Relations between the two families, particularly the grandmothers, are reported to be “excellent”.
However, it remains unknown whether Georgia and Kostas will attempt to overturn the sentence given they have a 30-day window to do so.
Caroline’s diary entries before her death seem to indicate that their marriage is falling apart, with Anagnostopoulos alleged to be controlling and aggressive.
A coroner’s report suggested that Ms. Crouch was assaulted while she was sleeping and suffered a slow, agonizing death in the early hours of May 11th.
A sharp increase in her heart rate was noted between 4:05 a.m. and 4:11 a.m. when her heart stopped beating, according to a fitness tracker she wore on her wrist.
The report named suffocation as the cause of death.
Anagnostopoulos initially claimed she had been strangled and the family dog Roxy was also killed when intruders stormed the maisonette demanding cash and jewelry.
He told police that he and Ms. Crouch were both handcuffed and gagged and that the burglars fled with about 10,000 euros in value hidden in a Monopoly box.
However, he later admitted to suffocating his wife with a pillow, killing her pet, and staging a fake robbery to cover up his crime.
But Anagnostopoulos will argue that, according to local reports, his wife was “verbally and physically aggressive towards him”.
If he manages to convince a jury that the killing was not planned, he could see a life sentence of just 15 years behind bars.