Police say a Greek man accused of murdering his British wife confessed to killing her and orchestrating a violent robbery to cover up his crime.
Charalambos (Babis) Anagnostopoulos, 33, was charged with the willful murder of Caroline Crouch, 20.
A coroner’s report suggests that Ms. Crouch was asleep when she was suffocated for six minutes in an upstairs bedroom.
Anagnostopoulos, a helicopter pilot, initially claimed to detectives that the university student Ms. Crouch was strangled by a foreign gang of burglars while he was tied up in another room.
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But police say the husband has now admitted that he smothered Ms. Crouch with a pillow after an argument – in front of her 11-month-old daughter – and he made up the story of the break-in to cover up his crime.
According to police, Anagnostopoulos has also confessed to strangling the family’s dog, a husky, and hanging it on a railing to back up his story of a robbery gone wrong.
Anagnostopoulos was attending a memorial service for his wife on the island of Alonnisos, where she grew up, on Wednesday when he was approached by police.
He was seen hugging his sad mother-in-law and shortly thereafter went with officials who told him they wanted him to return to Athens with them to discuss a breakthrough and a new suspect in the case
But Anagnostopoulos was soon told that he was the suspect, the police said.
The officer who handcuffed Anagnostopoulos was one of Ms. Crouch’s childhood friends, a source said Protothem.
The source claims the husband was “relaxed” on the way back to Athens Police Headquarters and even joked with officers accompanying him.
He is said to have made a confession during an eight-hour interrogation.
Police said they suspected and played along with Anagnostopoulos from the start when he claimed his wife was killed by burglars.
The Hariklia Theodorou family friend claims Mrs. Crouch’s mother, Susan Dela Cuesta, did not suspect her son-in-law of
Mrs. Theodorou told Skai: “Susan is very angry. She is full of anger. It’s like a nightmare.
“She had put all her hopes in Babis, she saw him as a continuation of her daughter. She had no idea, she had never suspected Babis.”
‘I killed her’
Extracts of the alleged confession were published in Greek newspapers.
Anagnostopoulos is said to have said to the police shortly after the start of their interrogation: “I killed you. I will tell you everything in detail.”
He allegedly told detectives that he smothered Ms. Crouch with a pillow on her bed after she told him she was going to get a divorce and leave the house.
They had argued by text message earlier that night when he was on a sofa in the living room and she was in a room upstairs.
Police claim he also told how he killed the dog and hung his body after he killed his wife.
Anagnostopoulos claimed his wife was angry with him that night and yelled at him after the baby started crying and woke her, police said.
He is reported to have said: “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.
“I tied myself up. I did everything because I thought of my child when I realized I had killed her.
“I never wanted to lie. I did what I did to avoid arrest; to protect my daughter.”
Husband is considered a “hiding” body
Anagnostopoulos allegedly told police he was considering disposing of his wife’s body before embarking on a robbery story. Proto-theme reported.
He is reported to have told detectives: “I was thinking of making one last attempt so that (our daughter) would at least grow up with her father.
“I thought about getting rid of the body, but I couldn’t. I just looked at it and cried.
“The next thing I thought was saying that someone else did. I would tell the police that robbers broke into the house. I was in a panic.
“I did not know, what I should do. I thought that to look more plausible and believe that renegade predators had invaded, I would have to hurt the dog.
“Nobody would have thought that I could harm a dog. It was with sorrow that I hung the dog leash on the banister.”
The husband then reportedly related how he laid his daughter next to Ms. Crouch’s body and tried to make it look like burglars had tied him up and put duct tape over his eyes and mouth.
He is reported to have said: “Before I tied myself up, I took (my daughter) from the sofa she was sleeping on and laid her on the bed next to Caroline.”
During the interrogation, Anagnostopoulos reportedly went over the couple’s story, from their first meeting while on vacation in Alonissos, how they met as teenagers and got married in Portugal in 2019.
He told the detectives they had an argument every day and feared she would leave him and get a divorce, police said.
They decided to see a therapist to save their marriage, he added.
A senior officer said Protothem: “It really didn’t take long for him to confess.
“He said he had been arguing with Caroline for a while and they fought that night, exchanging heated text messages while he was on the first floor and she was in the attic.
“When Caroline texted him at some point that he was ‘stupid’, he lost consciousness. He deactivated the security camera in the house, threw away the memory card before storming into the attic, where he had another heated argument with Caroline and she pushed to lay there on a bed and suffocate her to death. “
Detectives are said to have deliberately suspected the murder because the memory card was removed from the surveillance camera before the killing.
Anagnostopoulos lawyer Alexandros Papaioannidis said the murder was not planned in advance and the husband blames “his wife’s behavior”. Proto-theme reported.
Briton “attacked in bed”
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.
Footage shot at 12:35 p.m. allegedly shows the Anagnostopoulos cradling his daughter on a sofa while he and Ms. Crouch argued over text. Proto-theme reported.
Police say that at 1:20 a.m., Anagnostopoulos removed the memory card from the surveillance camera in the living room and admitted breaking it in half and flushing the toilet.
The husband and wife continued texting each other until around 3:15 a.m.
According to a coroner’s report Amna News Agency she went to bed and slept for about six minutes before the murder began.
A fitness tracker on Ms. Crouch’s wrist indicated “a sleeping person” at 3:58 am.
However, according to the coroner’s report, a sharp increase in her heart rate was noted between 4:05 a.m. and 4:11 a.m. when she was killed.
Her heart stopped beating around 4:11 a.m.
The report cited asphyxiation as the cause of death and said Ms. Crouch also sustained a neck injury, possibly caused by a sharp object.
It is alleged that data from Anagnostopoulo’s phone showed that he was moving between the ground floor and the attic of the house when he claimed to be handcuffed.
It is alleged that after he killed his wife, he strangled the dog and staged the robbery scene – tied his wife to the bed, making it look like he was handcuffed and blindfolded by the burglars.
A neighbor told it Proto-theme they heard the dog “crying” around 4:20 am.
Anagnostopoulos had informed the police that the intruders broke in around 6 a.m.
What did he tell 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’s happening now?
Anagnostopoulos has been charged with willful murder, animal abuse, false testimony to the police and falsely accusing others.
If convicted, he faces life imprisonment.
Greek media reported that he was being held in a police prison in Athens and he was alone in his cell because he feared other inmates would attack him.
He was reportedly under constant surveillance.
Anagnostopoulos is due to appear in court next week.
There’s also the unresolved custody issue for the couple’s daughter who became one earlier this month.
The baby had been with her father and his family after Mrs. Crouch died.
A special prosecutor decides who will have custody of the child.
For the time being, it will remain in the care of Anagnostopoulos’ parents.