'Murdered' British mother was 'desperate to leave Greek husband'

‘Murdered’ British mother Caroline Crouch was desperate to leave Greek helicopter pilot husband before he ‘suffocated her with a pillow and blamed it on burglars’, court hears

  • Caroline Crouch, 19, told her therapist she felt ‘trapped’ by husband Babis, 33
  • The couple started dating when she was 15 and still at school, court heard
  • Therapist Eleni Mylonopoulou described the killer as a ‘controlling narcissist’
  • He does not deny the killing but insists it was not pre-meditated

A young British mother cried that she was desperate to leave her Greek helicopter pilot husband because she felt ‘suffocated’ and ‘trapped’ by his controlling behaviour and wanted to start a new life with her baby, a court in Athens heard today.

Caroline Crouch, 19, revealed her heartbreak to a therapist she was seeing at the time along with her husband, Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33.

In dramatic testimony on day three of Anagnostopoulos’s trial for the murder of his wife, Eleni Mylonopoulou, who was providing couples counselling to them told the court: ‘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.

Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33, is escorted to court today in Greece by armed police officers as he faces trial for the murder of his wife

Caroline Crouch (left), 19 revealed her heartbreak to a therapist she was seeing at the time along with her husband

‘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.’

Ms Mylonopoulou described Anagnostopoulos as a ‘controlling narcissist’ and as ‘passive aggressive’ saying it underpinned his decision to have a relationship with somebody 14 years his junior.

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.

She said: ‘Why does a man of his age start a relationship with a child 15 years old? This is because it was easier for him to control her, given her age. There was no physical abuse but there was verbal, mental abuse.

‘He is passive aggressive. He is a controlling narcissist.’

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

Anagnostopoulos does not deny the killings but insists they were not pre-meditated, describing them as ‘crimes of passion’

In addition to the murder of Caroline, Anagnostopoulos is also on trial for the murder of her pet dog Roxy and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

After the killings last May he concocted an elaborate ruse that they occurred during a botched burglary.

Anagnostopoulos does not deny the killings but insists they were not pre-meditated, describing them as ‘crimes of passion’ prompted by Caroline’s behaviour.

Ms Mylonopoulou told the court that she started seeing the couple in April 2020 and they painted strikingly different pictures of the relationship.

They shared an 11-month-old baby called Lydia, but Caroline had suffered a miscarriage before her birth.

The couple married in Portugal in 2019 after meeting on the Greek island of Alonnisos, where Caroline was raised.

She said: ‘Babis would describe it as the perfect marriage, full of love, passion and travel. He showed me pictures of their fairy tale wedding and said they were very much in love.

A key part of Anagnostopoulos’s defence is that Caroline ‘triggered’ him into a ‘fit of rage’ after she violently pushed a crib in which their then 11-month-old daughter Lydia was sleeping

‘But when I would speak with Caroline alone, she would tell me something very different about the marriage. There was a divergence of views between them, so I had to decipher who was telling the truth and what the reality of the situation was.’

Ms Mylonopoulou said that after her conversations with Caroline independently of Anagnostopoulos her advice was to leave him.

Caroline routinely complained how he would not allow her to have her own money and was not even given enough to buy pet food. She limited in how often she could go out to see friends and Anagnostopoulos even installed a tracking device on her phone to keep check her whereabouts.

She also feared that she was being monitored while in the house via cameras that he had installed, which made her ‘paranoid’ and ‘fearful.’

Ms Mylonopoulou said: ‘Very often Caroline couldn’t understand what was going on with her life. She was confused and he made her feel very guilty.

Anagnostopoulos is also on trial for the murder of her pet dog Roxy and two counts of perverting the course of justice

‘She wasn’t even allowed to have five Euros on her. Even if she did go out, it would have to be in a taxi that was driven by Anagnostopoulos’s friend and her every movement was tracked.’

The therapist added: ‘I was clear in my advice that she should leave him because this could turn out to be very dangerous for her. But in the next session, they announce that they have decided to build a new house together.

‘When we were alone, I told her that a house cannot fix this broken marriage.’

She told the court that another area of concern for Caroline was that her parents, David Crouch and Susan Dela Cuesta had given the couple 35,000 Euros to buy land for the new house but Anagnostopoulos insisted that it would be registered in his name.

When asked by prosecutor Evgenia Stahoulopoulou why Caroline never shared any concerns with friends, Ms Mylonopoulou replied: ‘Because she was afraid; the victim is always afraid of the manipulator.

‘Even when she met with her neighbour, it was always Caroline who went to her house and when I asked her why, she replied: ‘Because there are cameras in mine.’

The Athens Mixed Jury Court heard that there was some respite for Caroline after she adopted her pet dog Roxy.

Mr Vardikos revealed that after being untied and told that Caroline was dead, Anagnostopoulos asked to hug baby Lydia and attempted to consoler her, but police removed her from his arms because he was ‘rocking her too hard.’ Pictured: Caroline and Babis Anagnostopoulos

Ms Mylonopoulou said: ‘She showed me pictures of the dog with such joy. I had never seen her like that. She was a wonderful, free selfless caring person until she met Babis.’

Recalling the events of last May, she said that she immediately became suspicious when she heard about Caroline and Roxy’s killing.

She added: ‘When I heard about the crime, I immediately called my lawyer because according to what I could see, it was the husband that committed the murder.

‘He killed the dog, a creature that Caroline absolutely loved. It’s symbolic. Then he kills Caroline, who was dying for five minutes. Then he takes the baby and puts it on her body; this is also abuse.

‘A narcissist considers that he owns everyone and everything around him. This is why Babis thought he could do to them what he wanted and then try and fool us all.’

As Anagnostopoulos sat dispassionately listening, she added: ‘He has no respect for anyone, not even death. The baby and the mother have a special bond, she could smell her. He exerted power over his own child, because for manipulative people, it’s all about power.’

When asked if Caroline’s behaviour was the result of postnatal depression or depression caused by a previous miscarriage, Ms Mylonopoulou said: ‘Parenthood was not her main problem. She was absolutely committed to Lydia and adored her. She was a bit affected by a miscarriage, but she was not depressed.

‘Caroline’s life had fallen apart. She was crying out for help.’

She revealed that last February Anagnostopoulos contacted her saying that they wanted to end the counselling sessions.

The hearing continues.

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