The Greek helicopter pilot found guilty of the pre-meditated murder of his young British wife has been sentenced to 27 and a half years in prison.
Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33, was given 16 years for the murder of Caroline Crouch, 19, and an additional 11 and a half years for killing their dog Roxy and perverting the course of justice.
Anagnostopoulos, who strangled Caroline before killing Roxy in an attempt to cover up the crime as a robbery gone wrong, will serve just 18 and a half years.
Following a six-day trial, a panel of three full-time judges and four jurors found that Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33 suffocated Caroline Crouch, 19 to death and had planned the crime in the hours leading up to it
The court considered the time he has already spent in prison and the fact that he worked while there, reducing the amount of time he will be behind bars.
Anagnostopoulos was also fined almost £18,000 (21,000 Euros).
He will serve his sentence at the maximum security Korydallos Prison on the outskirts of Athens, which is considered one of the toughest in Europe and is plagued by violence and overcrowding.
Anagnostopoulos hanged dog Roxy from a bannister of the family home as part of an attempt to create a false crime scene.
Anagnostopoulos, who faces a possible combined 32 years behind bars, stared straight ahead dispassionately as the judge delivered the verdict
He was also convicted of two counts of perverting the course of justice for lying to the authorities following the killings.
The court had taken just over an hour to reach its decision which was announced shortly before 5pm local time.
Anagnostopoulos faced a maximum 32 years in jail and stared straight ahead dispassionately as the judge delivered their verdict.
He faces life imprisonment for the murder of Caroline, which is 16 years in Greece plus a maximum ten years for killing Roxy and a combined six years for the two other offences
In an attempt to get a lesser sentence, he claimed during the trial that Caroline’s killing was an impulsive ‘crime of passion’ following a heated argument over their baby daughter Lydia.
But after hearing his testimony for more than ten hours last week and from a number of expert witnesses who described Anagnostopoulos as a ‘controlling narcissist,’ the Athens Mixed Jury Court categorically dismissed his version of events.
The court heard about the detailed planning that went into the killing. This included memory cards from CCTV cameras being removed and Anagnostopoulos going into the basement of the family home to get his motorcycle gloves around four hours before Caroline was killed, which he wore to create a crime scene.
Following Caroline’s murder, for 37 days Anagnostopoulos played the ‘grieving husband’ giving moving accounts in the media of the home invasion and even publicly hugging Lydia and his mother-in-law Susan Del Cuesta during a memorial service for Caroline as he shed ‘crocodile tears.’
Prosecutors alleged that the murder was planned by Anagnostopoulos hours before he committed it last May
He was arrested moments after the service ended last June after police became suspicious of his story because they found no trace of the gang, he claimed had tied him up, suffocated his wife and stole €15,000 (£13,000) in cash plus jewellery.
They also became suspicious when data collected from a fitness tracker on Caroline’s wrist showed her heart had stopped beating before the alleged break-in took place and data from other technical devices highlighted discrepancies.
Caroline’s brutal killing transfixed Greece and the trial has heard disturbing accounts about the crime and her life with Anagnostopoulos.
After being called to reports of a burglary in the early hours of 11 May 2021, the first sight that greeted police when they burst into the couple’s Athens home was Roxy’s torso hanging from a bannister with his excrement spread across the living room floor.
Caroline was discovered dead on the couple’s bed with baby Lydia crouching beside her, touching her mother’s life less corpse.
British national Caroline Crouch, 20, was strangled to death by helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopolous, 33 (pictured)
One of the officers told the court that Anagnostopoulos was in the bedroom with his hands tied at the front and hollered ‘Honey are you OK?’ and then poked Caroline in a false attempt to wake her.
Moments later, he sobbed as he recounted the story of the botched burglary, which he would continue to do for several weeks until his arrest.
For a while, his account was so believable and moving that it prompted the Greek government to announce a reward of £250,000 for the capture of the killers. It also led to a backlash against the Albanian community, who Anagnostopoulos hinted were behind the crime.
On paper at least, Caroline and Anagnostopoulos lived an idyllic life as they enjoyed lavish foreign holidays and lived in a smart middle class Athens suburb with their baby, dog and four cats.
The court heard that Anagnostopoulos started courting Caroline when she was 15 and still at school and he was just short of his 29th birthday, working as a flamboyant helicopter pilot who flew around the Greek islands. They started having a sexual relationship soon after she turned 16.
The couple married in Portugal in 2019 after meeting on the Greek island of Alonnisos, where Caroline was raised. Her parents, Liverpool born David Crouch, a retired oil executive and Susan, who is of Filipino origin, did not know that they were travelling abroad to tie the knot.
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
Susan did not attend the Athens trial, with her lawyer claiming that she was too devastated to travel and could not face her daughter’s killer. David was unable to make it because of a number of health issues. Both have closely followed events from their Alonissos home.
Extracts of Caroline’s diaries read out in court revealed that she told Anagnostopoulos that she wanted to end their marriage in July 2020, when their baby was a month old.
Giving evidence, therapist Eleni Mylonopoulou, who was providing couples counselling to them recalled how Caroline repeatedly told her she wanted to leave Anagnostopoulos because she found him ‘controlling’ and did not allow her to pursue her ambition to become a pastry chef.
She described Anagnostopoulos as a ‘controlling narcissist’ and as ‘passive aggressive’ which underpinned his decision to have a relationship with somebody 14 years his junior.
Police psychiatrist Alkistis Igoumenaki said Anagnostopoulos had a ‘psychopathic personality’ and a ‘lack of empathy’ for his 20-year-old spouse and their young daughter Lydia.
But despite the horrors that were heard in court, one of the most chilling aspects of the trial was the manner in which Anagnostopoulos delivered his 10-hour testimony so cool and calmly, almost without pause as he appeared oblivious to the evidence before him.
Caroline (left), Anagnostopoulos (right) and their baby daughter pose for a snap in May 2021
Ironically, Anagnostopoulos gave evidence last Wednesday on the one-year anniversary of Caroline’s death, and painted a picture of the ‘perfect marriage.’
He cried: ‘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.’
‘If I could turn back time, I’d choose Caroline again.’
Anagnostopoulos insisted that everything was ‘perfect’ until Caroline suffered a miscarriage, which made her prone to verbal and physical outbursts.
Recalling the night of the killing, Anagnostopoulos claimed that he and Caroline argued after Lydia nearly fell off the couch while he was looking after her.
Caroline stormed off to bed and after several attempts to patch things up, Anagnostopoulos said that he went upstairs at around 4am to try and again.
Anagnostopoulos admitted he killed Caroline because he did not receive an apology from her and that he smothered her with a pillow for around five minutes as he heard her muffled screams.
When asked by the judge what was it that caused his love for Caroline to convert to such hate, Babis replied: ‘Everything that happened accumulated in my head during the last three hours before her death.
‘I had no purpose. I was in a boiling state of mind. There was no logic. I cannot explain it myself.’
Realising she was dead, Anagnostopoulos told the court: ‘I could tell she was dead because her eyes were open. I started crying, pulling my hair, moving back and forth across the room.’
Anagnostopoulos revealed that he concocted the story of a botched burglary almost immediately because he did not want to go to jail and was afraid that Lydia would lose both her parents.
He said: ‘I didn’t want to come into contact with Caroline’s dead body. I didn’t want to cover it up. I’m not a psychopath.
‘My first thought was to make it look like someone else did it.’
He continued: ‘I thought only a violent robbery would convince. I thought no one would believe me if the scene wasn’t violent. I figured the only way to make it believable was to hurt an animal.’