Greek prosecutors have charged a 33-year-old man with the murder of his British-born wife in May after his story of a gruesome home invasion fell apart when the family’s smart devices showed he was lying to police.
Babis Anagnostopoulos, a commercial helicopter pilot, confessed to killing 20-year-old Caroline Crouch after being confronted with evidence from smartphones and smartwatches that he could not have been tied up by intruders as he claimed. In fact data on the smart devices showed he was moving around the house. Police were also able to conclude that his wife died far earlier in the evening than he initially claimed.
He had initially said his wife had been killed by an armed gang who broke into their house in a suburb of Athens in the 11th of May. The gang tied him up, killed the family dog and stole thousands of euros and valuables, Anagnostopoulos had said. When police arrived they found Crouch’s body next to her 11-month-old baby girl, who was unharmed. Police had been unable to find any evidence of the robbers.
“Anagnostopoulos was confronted by investigators with evidence that he lied about the events of May 11 – there was no home invasion and he did not spend the night bound to a chair, and he attempted to confess to killing her in a rage and covering it up,” said a police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to the press. “But investigators then confronted him with evidence that he had disabled the home security system more than three hours before she died and now he is silent because it's clear this was premeditated.”
Greek media reported elements of the confession on Thursday night after Anagnostopoulos was arrested following Crouch’s funeral.
The case has horrified Greece, where violent crime, aside from frequent mafia-related murders, is exceedingly rare. But the subsequent revelations in the Greek press that Anagnostopoulos had begun a relationship with Crouch when he was 28 and she was 15 has raised questions in Greece about whether the authorities ignored a case of child abuse that eventually resulted in murder.
“There is evidence that she was pregnant at 17 by Anagnostopoulos,” said the police official. “And the baby was lost. This does not reflect illegal behaviour in Greece.”
That a sexual relationship between a 28-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl would be legal under Greek law has mortified many Greeks, who claim because of Anagnostopoulos’ wealthy status and lifestyle, his alleged sexual grooming of a teenager he eventually confessed to murdering should have been noted earlier by the authorities.
Anagnostopoulos faces two felony charges for the murder as well as two misdemeanour charges for killing the family dog by hanging it from a staircase and faking the crime scene.