The family of a murdered Briton yesterday welcomed the 27-year jail sentence handed to her ‘odious’ killer husband.
They said Babis Anagnostopoulos, who suffocated Caroline Crouch in front of their baby daughter and then faked a burglary, would never see Lydia again.
Miss Crouch’s father David predicted the 34-year-old Greek pilot would become a ‘broken man’ in a notoriously tough jail.
‘No amount of prison time can ever bring back my beautiful daughter but I am just gratified that the court didn’t believe the scurrilous nonsense that he produced during his testimony,’ said Mr Crouch, 79.
‘I am further gratified to know that he will serve his time in Korydallos Prison, the toughest prison in Greece which has one of the worst prison systems in Europe.
Wedding: Caroline Crouch and Babis Anagnostopoulos (both pictured) married after a whirlwind romance
The pair with daughter Lydia. Miss Crouch’s father David predicted the 34-year-old Greek pilot would become a ‘broken man’ in a notoriously tough jail
Anagnostopoulos will serve his time in Korydallos Prison, the toughest prison in Greece which has one of the worst prison systems in Europe
Conditions in Korydallos Prison
A recent Council of Europe visit to the infamous Greek prison revealed the shocking conditions to which Anagnostopoulos will be subjected.
Korydallos is operating at roughly 140 per cent capacity, meaning prisoners are crammed into tiny spaces creating ‘volatile and alarming’ conditions.
The CoE delegation found one 9.5m2 cell was home to seven prisoners, who were forced to sleep on filthy mattresses and blankets infested with bed bugs, while mould was caked on the walls and ceiling.
Such close-quarters living with awful hygiene standards is an ideal breeding ground for communicable diseases.
Many prisoners suffer from myriad illnesses such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, scabies and even HIV, with heavily restricted access to healthcare.
The delegation also said buildings at Korydallos holding between 230 to 430 people each were often overseen by just one prison officer ‘who clearly was not in a position to exert any authority or control’.
This means the prison is essentially controlled by violent gangs who physically and psychologically degrade inmates into doing their bidding.
They are also able to obtain drugs and mobile phones to maintain contact with the outside world and threaten prison staff.
The horrendous conditions have resulted in a number of protests and riots in recent years.
‘When he eventually completes his sentence, which many people think he might not survive, he will be a changed man, a broken man, far older than his true age.
‘Now that his fate is settled, Susan and I can move on. I intend to change Lydia’s name to that of her mother so that she will never be associated with this odious creature.
‘I will ensure that he never gets to see his daughter or to have any contact with her whatsoever.’
Miss Crouch, 19, was murdered last May in the villa she shared with Anagnostopoulos.
Afterwards he tied himself up and told police it was the fault of Albanian criminals.
He wept crocodile tears in a service at a hilltop cemetery on his wife’s home island of Alonissos, hugging her distraught mother Susan.
Anagnostopoulos was given 16 years for killing his wife, and 11-and-a-half years for killing their dog and perverting the course of justice.
He will serve his time in maximum security Korydallos, which is known for overcrowding, gang violence and housing anarchist terrorists. He will spend around 18 years behind bars.
Athanasios Harmanis, the Crouch family’s lawyer, said after the sentencing: ‘Caroline is now a symbol in the struggle against violence against women.
‘I believe we had a fair trial at the highest level and we did not fall for the charade the defendant played for the 37 days after she was killed and during the court sessions.
‘It was a heinous crime – he held down the woman he said was the love of his life for five minutes while she struggled in his hands but he did not stop until she was dead.’
Anagnostopoulos had begged for a reduced sentence, arguing that the murder was a ‘crime of passion’ committed after Miss Crouch had refused to apologise for pushing their then 11-month-old daughter off her bed.
He had told the Athens court: ‘I pressed her against her pillow. She was screaming. I thought she had fainted [but] then I could tell she was dead because her eyes were open.
‘I started crying, pulling at my hair and pacing across the room trying to work out what to do.’
Korydallos is operating at roughly 140 per cent capacity, meaning prisoners are crammed into tiny spaces creating ‘volatile and alarming’ conditions
Prisoners are forced to sleep on filthy mattresses and blankets infested with bed bugs, while mould is caked on the walls and ceiling. Such close-quarters living with awful hygiene standards is an ideal breeding ground for communicable diseases like tuberculosis and hepatitis which are rife in the jail
Anagnostopoulos (pictured in suit and tie) had begged for a reduced sentence, arguing that the murder was a ‘crime of passion’
The helicopter pilot said he decided that killing the dog, Roxy, would make his story about armed home invaders more plausible.
Officers who entered the home found Lydia lying next to her mother’s body on the bed, Roxy hanging in the stairwell and Anagnostopoulos tied up.
A jury of three judges and four laypeople took an hour yesterday to find him unanimously guilty of pre-meditated murder, of killing Roxy and of two counts of perverting the course of justice.
Sources said Anagnostopoulos is sharing a cell with two other VIP prisoners, former Greek National Theatre chief Dimitris Lignadis, who is accused of raping three young boys and a man, and actor Petros Filipiddis, accused of rape.
Anagnostopoulos hid his wife’s wedding rings and jewellery in the fuel tank of his motorcycle, claiming they had been stolen by the ‘Albanian burglars’ along with £10,000 in cash from the family home in the affluent Athens suburb of Glyka Nera.
He played the grieving husband for 37 days after the killing. So convincing was his story that the Greek government offered a £250,000 reward.
Expert witnesses, including the couple’s therapist, Eleni Mylonopoulou, referred to the killer in court as a ‘narcissistic psychopath’.
Greek police eventually swooped after realising that data from the couple’s smartwatches did not tally with his story.
The fitness tracker on Miss Crouch’s wrist showed her heart had stopped beating hours before the break-in was said by her husband to have taken place.
Anagnostopoulos swept her off her feet when she was just 15, flying by helicopter to Alonissos where she lived with mother and her father, a former business executive from Liverpool.
The pair became lovers when she was 16, and married without telling her family in 2018. Mr and Mrs Crouch won custody of their granddaughter in October.
Additional reporting: Valentini Anagnostopoulou
Three top detectives were DEMOTED following the botched investigation into Caroline Crouch’s murder over the ‘torture’ of an innocent man
By George Odling for the Daily Mail
Three senior Greek detectives were demoted following the botched investigation into Caroline Crouch’s murder amid claims that an innocent man was tortured for a confession.
Giorgi Khardzeishvili, 36, from Georgia, says he was tied to a chair for four days and beaten as officers interrogated him about the killing which he knew nothing about.
Homicide chief Konstantinos Hasiotis, his deputy Theodoros Theodorou and extortion department chief Nikos Davarinos were all moved from their posts following the investigation.
It took Greek police 37 days to arrest Babis Anagnostopoulos over his wife’s murder.
He had told police she was murdered by a gang of Georgian or Albanian robbers who had broken into their home and the Greek government even offered a £250,000 reward for anyone who helped track the killers.
When Mr Khardzeishvili was arrested on the Greek border with Bulgaria on May 14 last year, he was presented as the prime suspect in the murder and paraded outside an Athens courthouse for press photographers.
It took Greek police 37 days to arrest Babis Anagnostopoulos (pictured on Monday) over his wife’s murder
Speaking from Korydallos Prison, Greece’s largest jail, Mr Khardzeishvili told Georgian media: ‘I was tied up for four days and beaten while they told me to confess to this girl’s murder.
‘I did not know what was happening, I had never even heard of this girl. They would take turns beating me very hard, my head was spinning and I had a concussion.
‘When one got tired, the other would then start to beat me. All they would say was ‘Tell us how did you kill her, how did you get in the house, how did you get out of there?’
George Kalliakmanis, president of the Union of Police Officers of East Attica, said: ‘Caroline’s murder was a case that shook Greek society because of its brutality. But for quite a while, Babis made a fool of us all; even the government, which put up a reward to catch the burglars.
‘The investigation was not handled properly and there were a number of crucial mistakes.
‘Evidence was not evaluated properly which could have led police to arrest Babis far sooner.’
It took Greek police 37 days to arrest Babis Anagnostopoulos (pictured left) over his wife’s murder
Among the mistakes he highlighted were the fact that officers did not realise memory cards had been removed from CCTV cameras and windows had been tampered with from the inside.
They also failed to take the Anagnostopoulos’s mobile phone from him until a week after the murder.
Mr Kalliakmanis added that no fingerprints from third parties were found in the family’s home and Anagnostopoulos was completely uninjured.
Athens police said Mr Khardzeishvili was later charged with robbery. A spokesman added: ‘The foreigner was found attempting to leave the country.
‘It was found that evidence had emerged against him for his involvement in a robbery case against an elderly couple, at their home in Pikermi.
‘For this reason he was transferred to the property crimes department of the Attica security directorate, where he was arrested under an arrest warrant.
‘The arrested person was also examined by police officers of the life crimes department for the Glyka Nera case.
‘During his stay in detention, he asked for and was examined by a doctor, who found that he was in good health, while he did not ask for his transfer to a hospital.’