ATHENS – A helicopter pilot charged with the murder of his young British-Greek wife and faking a robbery to mislead police was jailed Tuesday pending trial, while a prosecutor will decide on the custody of their infant daughter.
Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33, a Greek pilot and flight instructor, testified for more than five hours before being led to prison, wearing a bulletproof vest and under heavy police guard. He is accused of killing Caroline Crouch, 20, who died of suffocation on May 11 at the couple’s home on the outskirts of Athens.
The pilot had claimed that armed robbers broke into their home at night, tying up and gagging him and his wife in their bedroom while their nearly one-year-old daughter slept.
He was summoned by police for questioning while attending a memorial service for Crouch, held near her family home on the Aegean Sea island of Alonissos, and was seen hugging the victim’s mother before being led away.
“To embrace the hands that took her daughter’s life, you can understand how painful and distressing that is for a mother to endure,” Athanasios Harmanis, a lawyer for the victim’s family, told reporters outside the courthouse.
He said the victim’s parents had requested to bring up their granddaughter on the island, adding that they had “excellent relations” with the parents of the alleged killer.
Small groups of protesters, some from women’s rights organizations, gathered outside the court when Anagnostopoulos arrived to testify.
The baby was unharmed during the May 11 attack, but authorities said the family dog was found choked to death with its own leash.
The attack shocked the nation and prompted authorities to announce a 300,000-euro ($365,000) reward for information about the crime.
Police investigators said analysis of data from a smartwatch worn by Crouch had helped reveal inconsistencies in the pilot’s account of events.
Anagnostopoulos has been charged with felony counts of murder and animal abuse, and misdemeanor counts of providing false testimony and filing a false police report about the robbery.
If convicted on all counts, he could face a life sentence.