‘I didn’t want to go to jail. I wanted to raise my daughter’: Police reveal excuse Greek husband of murdered Brit Caroline Crouch gave for staging burglary after killing her as he arrives in court in bulletproof vest
Charalambos Anagnostopoulos Babis Anagnostopoulos has confessed to the murder of wife Caroline Crouch, according to Greek detectives
Police say the 33-year-old admitted smothering her to death when she threatened to leave him with their daughter, before spending hours staging a burglary in an attempt to hide his guilt
But his story fell apart when Caroline’s fitness tracker showed she was dead before the ‘break-in’ took place
Babis was summoned for questioning while at a memorial for his wife, with video capturing the moment he hugged Caroline’s mother before being led away
As he realized he had been caught, Babis is said to have told detectives that he lied because he couldn’t bear the thought of their daughter growing up without either of her parents
Caroline Crouch, 20, was strangled to death in front of her 11-month-old daughter at her home in the Glyka Nera suburb
Babis Anagnostopoulos previously told police that three men broke into his family home early on May 11, stole $13,820 [£10,000] he was keeping in a Monopoly box, then strangled his wife
Police said they ‘suspected Babis from the moment they saw him and dubbed him the ‘Greek Oscar Pistorius”
The husband of a British woman murdered in Greece has told police that he hatched an elaborate plot to cover up her murder by staging a burglary because he couldn’t bear the thought of their daughter growing up without parents.
‘I did not want to go to prison, because I wanted to raise my daughter,’ Charalambos Babis Anagnostopoulos is said to have told detectives as he confessed to killing Caroline Crouch in a fit of rage after she threatened to divorce him and take their baby daughter.
The 33-year-old pilot allegedly, made a groveling admission to police Friday, minutes before he appeared in court wearing a bulletproof vest where he was officially charged with Caroline’s murder and the death of the family pet – a seven-month-old husky puppy that police say he drowned as part of his cover-up.
Anagnostopoulos faces life in prison if convicted.
‘I tied myself up.
‘I did everything because when I realized I killed her, I thought of my child,’ Anagnostopoulos allegedly told detectives. Police chief Petros Tzeferis, recalled the moment Babis’s story finally collapsed after a futile six-week search for a gang of masked home invaders that he had fabricated.
This was in sharp contrast to the initial story helicopter pilot Charalambos Anagnostopoulos, had told responding officers that a masked group of home invaders was tied him up while his wife Caroline, was tortured and killed by the men at their Athens home in front of their 11- month-old daughter, on May 11.
Meanwhile astonishing images revealed the moment that Babis hugged Caroline’s distraught mother at her memorial service on Wednesday, just hours before he confessed to being her killer.
The embrace took place as detectives arrived to call Babis away from the service – claiming they had arrested a new suspect and needed his help to identify him.
Charalambos Babis Anagnostopoulos has confessed to the murder of wife Caroline Crouch, and staging burglary after killing her as he arrives in court in bullet-proof vest
In fact, the suspect that police wanted Anagnostopoulos to identify was himself – which he is said to have done during eight hours of interrogations. Police announced late Thursday that Babis had confessed to smothering Caroline during a fight at their home in the early hours of May 11.
Detectives say he then concocted an elaborate story about a break-in and spent the pre-dawn hours staging the raid, including lurid allegations that three men had tied up him and his wife, threatened their infant daughter with a gun, strangled Caroline to death, then fled with $13,820, [£10,000], in a case which shocked Greece.
However, detectives now say it was nothing more than a fabrication which fell apart when data collected from a fitness tracker on Caroline’s wrist showed her heart had stopped beating before the alleged break-in took place.
The murder suspect was flown off from the Greek island of Alonissos by helicopter to Athens where he is said to have confessed during eight hours of interrogation by police.
Greek police who were first on the scene of the ‘break in’ had suspected Babis was the real culprit from the moment they laid eyes on him, the chief of police has told Greek media.
George Kalliakmanis, president of police in Attica, said officers had compared Anagnostopoulos to a ‘Greek Oscar Pistorius’ – the South African athlete convicted of shooting dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at their home in 2013, despite proclaiming his innocence.
The 33-year-old’s story fell apart after detectives uncovered data from Caroline’s smartwatch revealing her heart stopped beating hours before the alleged burglary took place
Anagnostopoulos spins his web of lies, telling the media that a group of masked home invaders robbed him of cash and valuables then strangled his wife
Police who were first on the scene of the ‘break in’ had suspected Anagnostopoulos was the real culprit from the moment they laid eyes on him, the chief of police has told Greek media.
George Kalliakmanis told Greek news site Protothema that detectives had immediately noticed the ‘coldness’ of Babis, adding that one officer had even taken his baby daughter away from him at the scene to ‘protect’ the girl.
Upon investigating the house Kalliakmanis said, officers quickly uncovered signs the burglary had been staged – saying that very few of the cabinets or closets had been disturbed.
Typically, burglars will rifle potential hiding place in search of valuables, but in this house, they appeared only to have searched in the places that Anagnostopoulos said valuables had been stored, Kalliakmanis said.
He added that officers had concealed their initial suspicions from the homeowner, pursued his burglary narrative to keep him calm, all the while pegging him for the prime suspect.
More tracking data from husband’s phone also showed him moving from the attic to the basement of the house and back again, despite claiming to have spent all night tied to the bed.
And data from a security camera at the home showed its memory card had been removed at 1.20am, hours before Anagnostopoulos claimed the break-in happened.
The mounting evidence prompted Greek police to drag the grieving widower away from his wife’s memorial service, He was taken by boat to a neighboring island before being loaded into a helicopter and flown back to Athens.
Arriving at police headquarters, Anagnostopoulos it seemed to understood that he was being questioned as a suspect rather than a witness, and after a short opening exchange the widower allegedly, snapped and told investigators: ‘I killed her. I will tell you everything in detail.’
‘It really didn’t take long for him to confess,’ said a senior investigator.
‘He said he had been fighting with Caroline for some time and they were fighting that night, exchanging heated text messages while he was on the ground floor and she was in the attic.
‘At one point,’ he said, ‘when Caroline texted him that he was “stupid,” he lost his cool. He disabled the home’s surveillance camera, discarding its memory card, before charging up to the attic where he had another heated argument with Caroline, pushing her onto a bed there, and smothering her to death.’
The officer said Babis recounted the story of his relationship with Caroline, from their first meeting while he was on holiday in Alonissos to falling in love and then their marriage in 2018.
But he said their marriage had devolved into daily arguments driven by his fear that she was planning to leave him, which culminated in her ordering him out of the house and asking for a divorce.
The pair had met while Babis was on holiday to the Greek island of Alonissos where Caroline, who was born in the UK, had lived with her parents since the age of eight. They were married in 2018, and she gave birth to their daughter in June last year.
But a friend said last night that the idyllic images were a mirage – in fact, Babis was a jealous and controlling husband and Caroline was deeply unhappy.
‘She could not have the time she wanted with her friends and she was constantly expressing her complaints about his behavior,’ a source said.
It was a fact that police had also uncovered during their investigation, after speaking with a psychologist who was treating both Babis and Caroline in separate sessions.
At the time, it was reported that Caroline was suffering from post-natal depression. Officers did not say what Babis was being treated for.
Texts found by police on the coupe’s phones also reinforced suspicions of a less-than happy marriage, with police saying messages exchanged in English showed that one had called the other ‘stupid.’
On the night of the murder, Caroline had allegedly messaged a friend saying that she was leaving Babis.
Phone data also showed that Caroline had attempted to book herself into a hotel on the night she died, detectives said.
Anagnostopoulos told police that he threw her down on the bed and pressed her face into a pillow until she passed out, before realizing he had killed her – Detectives say he stuffed cotton into Caroline’s mouth, then smothered her.
He then spent the pre-dawn hours staging an elaborate break-in.
He then drowned the family dog in an area outside the home and removed the CCTV memory card which he snapped and flushed down the toilet.
At the end of his confession, the suspect, in the company of two psychologists made a public admission of his guilt in a statement at 9.36pm local time on Thursday evening.
“Suspicions loomed from the start,” Police Chief Petros Tzeferis said. “But we lacked the hard evidence.”
Still, weeks into the investigation, a step-counter detected on the husband’s smartphone, yielded the most damning piece of evidence, authorities said, quickly shifting the focus of the investigation onto the husband.
“It showed that he was moving during the time he claimed to have been immobilized by the robbers,” said Penelope Maniatis, director of the Greek Police’s forensics department. “This was the first major inconsistency created in his testimony and the first clear suspicion created about his potential involvement.”
Coupled with other digital forensic finds, including from the fitness watch, investigators managed to establish a case against the husband.
An examination of Crouch’s mobile phone, authorities said, also showed that on the night of the crime, the 20-year-old mother was trying to book herself and daughter, Lydia, into a hotel room.
“I never wanted to lie,” Anagnostopoulos said in the course of his marathon confession late Thursday. “I did what I did to evade arrest; to protect my daughter.”
The confession comes five weeks after Charalambos Anagnostopoulos led mourners at Crouch’s funeral and read a eulogy while standing over her grave.
‘Our loved ones are the most important people to us all,’ he said at the time – wiping away tears while holding their baby daughter in his arms.
‘You should always look after your loved ones and enjoy your time together.’
On social media, the young couple appeared to enjoy a blessed life – 20-year-old Caroline posting snaps of the couple with their daughter, or else showing off their idyllic-seeming life in Greece as she wandered on sunny beaches in bikinis.
According to the police version of events, he broke a latch on a downstairs window, then ransacked hiding spots where valuables were kept to make it look like they had been robbed. He also drowned the couple’s seven-month-old husky puppy and hanged its body from the stair banister, later telling police that robbers must have killed it on their way in so it didn’t wake them up
Officers say Anagnostopoulos then blindfolded himself, tied himself to the bed, and placed a call to a neighbor who alerted them to the ‘burglary’.
The fate of the 11-month old infant remained unclear. Authorities refused to say whether she would be placed in the care of social services or her grandparents – Crouch’s Filipino mother and British father.