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PeopleGreek pilot who ‘murdered’ his British wife tries to...

Greek pilot who ‘murdered’ his British wife tries to paint her as a violent mother

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A Greek pilot who suffocated his British wife then spun an elaborate lie about an armed burglary to cover his tracks today sought to blame her ‘temper’ for the killing.

Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33, is facing 30 years in jail in his native Greece for the murder of Caroline Crouch, 20, in May last year, but is seeking a lesser sentence for manslaughter on the basis that he acted impulsively to protect their daughter.

Giving evidence at an Athens court today – the same day he smothered Caroline to death a year ago – Babis tried to paint her as an uncaring mother who was prone to violent episodes that made him fear for 11-month-old Lydia’s safety.

He claimed that, on the night he killed Caroline, she had screamed ‘I don’t care if you both die’ at him during an argument while he held their daughter.

Hours later, police found Caroline dead in bed alongside baby Lydia after Babis called them to the family home and said there had been a break-in. He dramatically admitted being the killer when cops arrested him weeks later.

He also admitted killing the family pet – a puppy called Roxy – and hanging its body from the bannisters as a way of giving credence to his lies. He is facing separate charges for killing the dog.

Greek helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopoulos arrives at an Athens court escorted by armed police officers on Wednesday

Greek helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopoulos arrives at an Athens court escorted by armed police officers on Wednesday

Greek helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopoulos arrives at an Athens court escorted by armed police officers on Wednesday

Babis is escorted by armed police officers as he is escorted to the court in Athens on Wednesday where he is accused of killing his wife Caroline Crouch

Babis is escorted by armed police officers as he is escorted to the court in Athens on Wednesday where he is accused of killing his wife Caroline Crouch

Babis is escorted by armed police officers as he is escorted to the court in Athens on Wednesday where he is accused of killing his wife Caroline Crouch

Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33, today told an Athens court that the word 'sorry' was not enough for him killing Caroline Crouch, 20, (pictured together) and her beloved pet dog Roxy

Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33, today told an Athens court that the word 'sorry' was not enough for him killing Caroline Crouch, 20, (pictured together) and her beloved pet dog Roxy

Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33, today told an Athens court that the word ‘sorry’ was not enough for him killing Caroline Crouch, 20, (pictured together) and her beloved pet dog Roxy

Babis today told the court that, on the night Caroline died, the couple had argued when Lydia started crying – having almost fallen over while he was looking after her.

He said the pair exchanged hostile words before Caroline stormed up to bed around 10.30pm, shouting back down the stairs: ‘You can both die. I don’t care.’

Babis said he then tried to take Lydia into their bedroom three times, before eventually placing the girl in bed next to Caroline which made her even angrier.

‘Caroline shouted ‘go away, go to hell. I don’t care what you do with the baby.’ She wasn’t calm,’ he said.

‘She was furious, she cursed at me. After the third occasion, I left the little one next to her (Caroline) on the right side.’

He then told the court that he was ‘afraid’ of what might she might have done to their baby when they were left alone.

‘She was a wonderful mother. But that night, with her temper, unintentionally she could have hurt the child. I couldn’t predict what she would do,’ he said.

‘She was the perfect mother who had moments of violence.’

Babis – who began sleeping with Caroline when he was 29 and she was just 16 – also painted an idyllic vision of their early relationship, before claiming it turned sour after his wife suffered a miscarriage and then gave birth to Lydia.

He claims she became angry and irrational, and would lash out at him.

But psychologists treating the pair paint a very different picture: Saying that he was controlling and Caroline felt ‘suffocated’ and ‘trapped’ in the relationship.

Having initially tried to mislead police – even going so far as to attend Caroline’s funeral and comfort her parents – Babis has now pledged to tell the court ‘every detail’ about the killing. 

He told the court: ‘There are no excuses for what happened a year ago. Not to myself, not to anyone. What was lost a year ago is irreplaceable.

‘She (Caroline) didn’t deserve what happened, our dog didn’t deserve it or anyone else. The word ‘sorry’ is not enough. No matter how many times I tell her now that I’m sorry she won’t enjoy her life.’

Anagnostopoulos does not deny killing Caroline but insists that it was not ‘premeditated’ and that it was a ‘crime of passion’ caused by her behaviour.

In addition to her murder Anagnostopoulos is also on trial for the murder of Roxy and two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice. 

Following the killings, he concocted an elaborate ruse that they were the result of a botched burglary last May.

After suffocating Caroline as she slept, Anagnostopoulos then smothered puppy Roxy (pictured) and hanged the pup's lifeless body on the banister of their first floor flat in Athens. Anagnostopoulos is also being charged with the felony of killing a healthy animal - something made possible following a new law introduced last year that forbids their unlawful killing

After suffocating Caroline as she slept, Anagnostopoulos then smothered puppy Roxy (pictured) and hanged the pup's lifeless body on the banister of their first floor flat in Athens. Anagnostopoulos is also being charged with the felony of killing a healthy animal - something made possible following a new law introduced last year that forbids their unlawful killing

After suffocating Caroline as she slept, Anagnostopoulos then smothered puppy Roxy (pictured) and hanged the pup’s lifeless body on the banister of their first floor flat in Athens. Anagnostopoulos is also being charged with the felony of killing a healthy animal – something made possible following a new law introduced last year that forbids their unlawful killing

British national Caroline Crouch, 20, was strangled to death by helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopolous, 33 (pictured)

British national Caroline Crouch, 20, was strangled to death by helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopolous, 33 (pictured)

British national Caroline Crouch, 20, was strangled to death by helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopolous, 33 (pictured)

Caroline (left), Anagnostopoulos (right) and their baby daughter pose for a snap in May 2021

Caroline (left), Anagnostopoulos (right) and their baby daughter pose for a snap in May 2021

Caroline (left), Anagnostopoulos (right) and their baby daughter pose for a snap in May 2021

The court has already heard graphic details about how police discovered Roxy’s torso hanging from a bannister and the couple’s 11-month-old baby Lydia next to her dead mother after they entered their home in an Athens suburb.

Anagnostopoulos told the court: ‘No matter how many times I say sorry to our child for not growing up next to her mother or to my mother-in-law for trusting me, it makes no difference. There are no words.

‘I will tell you exactly what happened in every detail and honestly. It will not be an excuse, I am not trying to rationalize anything from that day. 

‘I’m not interested in my career or being cursed by a large number of people who have not met me, only that I will never see her (Caroline) again.

‘My absolute priority in everything was her happiness.’

Ironically, Anagnostopoulos was giving evidence on the one-year anniversary of Caroline’s killing.

Recalling the start of his and Caroline’s sexual relationship, when she was 16 and he was 29, Anagnostopoulos told how they met on the island of Alonissos.

The court has already heard how she was 15 when they first met, when he was working as a helicopter pilot and would fly over the school she was attending to impress her.

He said: ‘My life changed in 2017 when I saw Caroline. We met at Easter. It was platonic, I was disappointed when I found out her age. I went back to the island in the summer.

‘She is the rarest person I have ever met in my life. A brilliant woman. At 16 you could speak with her about anything. 

‘Her personality was lovely. She filled anyone with love.’

As his voice quivered, he told a panel of three judges and four jurors: ‘We spent the whole summer together. 

‘After that it was obvious to both of us that we were in a relationship. Despite the practical problems, that she was on the island and I was in Athens.’

He added: ‘During the four years we were together, Caroline never called me by my name. She only called me ‘darling’ or ‘little one’. No one can tell me otherwise; it was the rarest and most beautiful thing I have ever felt.’

Anagnostopoulos said that despite ‘issues’ in their relationship ‘if I could turn back time, I’d choose Caroline again.’

The Greek prosecutor hit back: ‘The problem is you can’t do that.’

The couple began dating when Caroline was still a teenager. They married in Portugal in 2019

The couple began dating when Caroline was still a teenager. They married in Portugal in 2019

The couple began dating when Caroline was still a teenager. They married in Portugal in 2019 

A psychiatrist has told a court in Athens where a Greek helicopter pilot (pictured arriving in court on Tuesday) is on trial for killing his young British-born wife that the defendant exhibits signs of both narcissistic and anti-social personality disorders

A psychiatrist has told a court in Athens where a Greek helicopter pilot (pictured arriving in court on Tuesday) is on trial for killing his young British-born wife that the defendant exhibits signs of both narcissistic and anti-social personality disorders

A psychiatrist has told a court in Athens where a Greek helicopter pilot (pictured arriving in court on Tuesday) is on trial for killing his young British-born wife that the defendant exhibits signs of both narcissistic and anti-social personality disorders

Anagnostopoulos was asked in court about why he and Caroline went to Portugal to get married in 2018 without informing her parents.

He said: ‘In the summer of 2018 we had the crazy idea to get married.

‘She had a dream of getting married on a beach. But in Greece this is not legally possible, you need a church. So, we went to Portugal. We both knew it was early. We were madly in love.

‘She organised everything perfectly. Even the flowers, the cars, the hotels… everything.

‘My absolute priority in everything was her happiness. We were looking for a beautiful house that framed the dream we were living. Caroline loved this particular house. We did not want to live in the city.’

Asked why Caroline’s parents or wider family were not informed he responded: ‘We planned to make the summer trip to Portugal, get married and announce it when we get back.’

Anagnostopoulos was asked in court when problems between him and Caroline started to arise.

He said: ‘When we found out she was pregnant with her first child it was a big shock. It was too soon to have a child. Not only because of her age but also because we hadn’t had much time living together. And this had a big effect on our relationship.

‘We knew a pregnancy would happen at some point, but this was too soon. We were afraid of how the child would change our plans, our trips and Caroline studies.’

The court has already heard how the Caroline suffered a miscarriage before going on to give birth to Lydia.

Anagnostopoulos claims that this affected her mental health, causing Caroline to become angrier and more argumentative.

But number of expert witnesses have testified that the loss of her first child did not affect her attitude towards Anagnostopoulos.

They claimed that Caroline had expressed a desire to leave him because she felt ‘suffocated’ and ‘trapped’ by his controlling behaviour and because he prevented her from pursuing further studies to become a pastry chef.

Fighting back the tears, he recalled the miscarriage: ‘We found out that there was a problem with the pregnancy. We went to the gynaecologist and found out that the baby had no pulse and had died.

‘I was devastated, we were both devastated. We were crying as we were falling asleep and hugging as we shed tears.’

He added: ‘In some moments Caroline would burst out. I could tell she wasn’t herself when she was attacking me, either verbally or physically. I didn’t mind her taking it out on me, I understood her.’

Yesterday, excerpts of Caroline’s diary – in which she detailed the couple’s troubled relationship – were read out in court.

In the entries it was revealed that Caroline told him she wanted to end their relationship in July 2020, when their baby was a month old.

Anagnostopoulos broke down in tears and had to be comforted by his lawyer as the court heard Caroline also admitted that she wanted to leave before she fell pregnant but changed her mind, saying: ‘I didn’t want my daughter to grow up without her parents’.

The heartbreaking entries also told of bitter fights between the pair, with Caroline recalling one where she ‘hit him’ before he ‘broke down a door’.

One entry read by the judge stated: ‘I fought with Babi again. This time it was serious. I hit him, I cursed at him and he broke down the door.

‘All I wanted was for him to ask how I am when I woke up. I woke up so weak and tired.’

It was at this point that the pilot started sobbing, having appeared unmoved earlier in the hearing when Caroline’s autopsy was read to the court.

It revealed that she was smothered for five minutes by Anagnostopoulos and died ‘in agony.’ Her official cause of death was given as asphyxiation.

After the hearing, Thanasis Harmanis, the lawyer for the Crouch family said: ‘Babis’s crocodile tears just underline how heartless he is and are an insult to the memory of Caroline.

‘He weeps when he hears about him being attacked by Caroline but does not shed a single tear after horrible details about her death are revealed. 

‘This is why her parents didn’t want to be at the case because they don’t want to be confronted by this charade.’

Anagnostopoulos faces a possible 30-year sentence if convicted of murder at the Athens Mixed Jury court, where his case is being heard before three full-time judges and four jurors

Anagnostopoulos faces a possible 30-year sentence if convicted of murder at the Athens Mixed Jury court, where his case is being heard before three full-time judges and four jurors

Anagnostopoulos faces a possible 30-year sentence if convicted of murder at the Athens Mixed Jury court, where his case is being heard before three full-time judges and four jurors

Earlier, a psychiatrist told the Athens court where the Greek helicopter pilot is on trial that the defendant exhibits signs of both narcissistic and anti-social personality disorders.

The expert witness, Alkistis Igoumenaki, testified yesterday morning that Anagnostopoulos had a ‘psychopathic personality’ and a ‘lack of empathy’ for his 20-year-old spouse and their young daughter Lydia.

Igoumenaki said: ‘[The defendant] has an absence of sentiment and empathy, but his mind is perfectly capable of understanding the wrongdoing he has done.

‘He suffers from a number of anti-social behaviour traits and is also a narcissist. But that is not an excuse for saying that he was not in control when he carried out his crimes.

The psychiatrist continued: ‘He killed his wife and the mother of his child without thinking how much the child would suffer from this loss, so the lack of empathy concerns the child as well. 

‘We see a man who does not think about the baby… All this contributes to a psychopathic personality.’

Anagnostopoulos faces a possible 30-year sentence if convicted of murder at the Athens Mixed Jury court, where his case is being heard before three full-time judges and four jurors.

Igoumenaki later claimed that Anagnostopoulos’ personality meant he was unable to deal with rejection and posited he wanted to be ‘admired’ when he entered into a relationship with a much younger woman, highlighting the 13-year age gap between Caroline and her killer.

‘We see a quest for the admiration of others… Most of us in the world have experienced rejection and we know that emotion is bad. But fortunately this does not lead to murders,’ the psychiatrist decalared.

The court has already heard how Caroline expressed a desire to leave Anagnostopoulos because she felt ‘suffocated’ and ‘trapped’ by his controlling behaviour.

Eleni Mylonopoulou, who was providing couples counselling said at an earlier hearing: ‘The moment Babis would leave the room Caroline would tell me that she wanted to leave their marital home, take the baby and start all over again.

‘She felt controlled, suffocated and trapped by him. She wanted to go back to university and become a pastry chef. But he didn’t give her any freedom and she had no choice in how she lived her life.’

She added: ‘On paper, Caroline was in love with the idea of Babis but hated the person who he really was.’

The hearing continues.

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