The Greek husband of a British woman murdered near Athens confessed to killing her, police say – a month after he claimed armed burglars were responsible.
Charalambos (Babis) Anagnostopoulos, 33, is charged with willful homicide following the death of his wife, Caroline Crouch, 20, who was found dead in her home on May 11th.
Anagnostopoulos told detectives and reporters that Ms. Crouch was strangled by an intruder, but Greek police claim the husband has now admitted that he made up the story and was the killer.
The case shocked Greece and sparked a national security debate after Anagnostopoulos first told police that his wife had been killed by a foreign gang.
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However, a police union official said Friday that the husband was a suspect from the start and that the officers played a role in the burglary allegations.
According to police, Anagnostopoulos has confessed to suffocating Ms. Crouch with a pillow in front of her baby after an argument.
The helicopter pilot is also accused of strangling the family dog and hanging it on a railing.
What do we know about the couple?
British-born Ms. Crouch is believed to have moved to Greece at the age of eight and raised on the island of Alonnisos by her British father David Crouch and Filipino mother Susan Dela Cuesta.
As a child, she first met Anagnostopoulos, 12 years her senior. He has ties to the island and was visiting his family at the time.
They started dating when she was a teenage girl and got married in Portugal in 2019.
Their daughter was born in June 2020.
Ms. Crouch was recently a statistics student at the University of Piraeus and Anagnostopoulos worked as a helicopter pilot.
A friend of Ms. Crouch’s alleged against the Greek news site Ethnos that Anagnostopoulos was jealous and controlling and Mrs. Crouch was not happy in the relationship.
It is alleged that Ms. Crouch had had enough and was preparing to end her marriage before she was killed.
The friend said, “It wasn’t a happy couple, it was a difficult relationship. He was jealous of her and let her do almost nothing.
“She couldn’t have the time she wanted with her friends and she kept complaining about his behavior.”
What happened to Mrs. Crouch?
Police found Ms. Crouch’s body when they were called to the family home in the upscale area of Glyka Nera, a suburb of Athens, around 6 a.m. on May 11.
The first officer on site previously shared how he found Ms. Crouch’s daughter, who tried to wake her up when the mother was tied to a bed.
Police said the man was found in another room with handcuffs and tape over his eyes and mouth.
The family dog, a husky, was killed and found hanging on a railing.
At Mrs Crouch’s funeral in May, Anagnostopoulos held his daughter in his arms and wiped away his tears as he praised his wife.
He said to those in mourning: “Our loved ones are the most important people for all of us. You should always look after your loved ones and enjoy the time together.”
The Greek government announced a £ 260,000 reward for information.
What did the husband say to the police originally?
Anagnostopoulos first told police and reporters that foreign gang members armed with weapons broke into the family while they were sleeping, and tied and gagged him and his wife.
He told the detectives that one of the three intruders strangled his wife.
Anagnostopoulos speculated that his life was spared because he had temporarily lost consciousness in another room, bound, gagged, and blindfolded and probably appeared dead.
The couple’s baby was threatened with a gun, he claimed, but was unharmed.
He said the burglars were demanding cash and jewelry and fled with around £ 10,000 worth of euros hidden in a Monopoly box.
The couple had so much money on hand because they had to pay builders, he added.
Anagnostopoulos told police he managed to squirm freely with his cell phone and call for help.
The man’s first statements led to the arrest of a Georgian who, according to police, has now been falsely charged.
What did he tell reporters?
In the days following Mrs Crouch’s death, Anagnostopoulos made a number of statements to television crews outside the family home.
He said the day after his wife was found dead, “I wish no one would ever go through what we went through last night. It was a nightmare.
“We begged the thieves not to harm us. We told them where the money was and asked them to leave us alone. The police will get you. “
Two days after his wife was found dead, Anagnostopoulos told Spiegel that he was “in no condition” to talk about her at length.
He added, “She was an amazing person, full of life and full of love. Our lives will never be the same without them.
“Take care of your family, sir. Value your loved ones as best you can.”
What did Anagnostopoulos confess?
Anagnostopoulos attended a memorial service for his wife on the island of Alonnisos on Wednesday, where he hugged the sad mother of Mrs. Crouch.
Detectives came up to him after the service and told him there had been a breakthrough in the case and they would need his help in identifying a suspect.
But after being flown to Athens, he was told he was the suspect, police said.
Anagnostopoulos confessed during an eight-hour interrogation.
He reportedly told police he killed Ms. Crouch in front of her daughter after she told him to leave the house after an argument.
He then strangled the family dog while trying to make it look like a robbery went wrong to cover up his crime, police claim.
According to the Greek media, Anagnostopoulos is said to have told the police: “I killed them. I will tell you everything.”
He added, “We argued early that night. At some point she threw the child into the crib and told me to leave the house.
“She pushed and hit me. I lost my temper, I smothered her with the pillow. When I invented robbery.”
Anagnostopoulos lawyer, Vassilis Spyrou, told the Greek media on Friday that his client told him after the alleged confession: “I’m sorry. I want to be punished for what I’ve done.”
Mr. Spyrou said, “He told me he wanted to be punished for what he did. He is not in good psychological condition.
“I confirm that he is remorseful and wants to pay.
Mr Spyrou said his client was relieved after the interrogation.
How did the police “crack” the case?
Police spent hours pulling text messages and data from cell phones and other devices.
Detectives said the robbery story collapsed thanks to Ms. Crouch’s fitness tracker, data from Anagnostopoulos’ cellphone and CCTV from the house in the upscale neighborhood, Greek media reported.
A fitness tracker on Ms. Crouch’s wrist showed intense heart activity just after 4 a.m. and her heart stopped at around 4:11 a.m., about an hour before burglars are said to have stormed the house.
It is alleged that data from his phone showed he was walking from the attic to the basement of the house and back again, despite claiming he was handcuffed in a room.
The memory card of a surveillance camera in the living room was removed at 1:20 a.m. Police claim it was removed from the husband and flushed down the toilet.
Footage captured at 12:35 p.m. allegedly shows the Anagnostopoulos cradling his daughter on a sofa while he and Mrs Crouch, who was upstairs, argued over text. Proto-theme reported.
They continued texting each other for about two hours and 40 minutes.
Ms. Crouch was said to have been killed a short time later around 4 a.m. based on data from her fitness tracker, police said.
The police were called to the house about two hours later.
Detectives are said to deliberately suspect the murder because a memory card was removed from a surveillance camera before the killing.
What’s happening now?
Anagnostopoulos is to be prosecuted for willful killing in a calm state of mind, animal abuse, false testimony to the police and falsely accusing other people.
He will appear in court for the first time on Friday.
It’s also about custody of the couple’s daughter.
The baby had been with her father and his family after Mrs. Crouch died.