The Greek husband of Caroline Crouch has confessed to killing her in front of their baby when she threatened to walk out on him.
Babis Anagnostopoulos admitted strangling the 20-year-old Briton after detectives found smartwatch data which suggested she didn’t die when first claimed.
The 33-year-old helicopter pilot had initially told police his wife was murdered by robbers who had tied him up at their home near Athens in the early hours of May 11.
He told police in his statement: ‘That night we were fighting early. At one point she threw the child in the crib and told me to leave the house.
‘I lost my temper, I suffocated her with the pillow. Τhen I made up the robbery.’
His confession, more than five weeks after her death, came after a six-hour interrogation on Thursday by Hellenic Police.
‘When faced with the evidence he confessed,’ said Apostolos Skrekas, a police spokesman.
‘The tracker contradicted his initial testimony that he had been roped up and gagged by three assailants. Instead, what we found was that he moved around the house, going from the attic to the basement.’
Skrekas refused to elaborate whether the husband had acted on his own or had hired accomplices.
He said the motive the husband cited for murdering his wife was that she had threatened him hours before to leave him.
Evidence showed a fitness tracker strapped on Caroline Crouch’s wrist revealed her heartbeat had flat-lined at least an hour before the pre-dawn raid Anagnostopoulos claimed to the authorities.
Greek police said in a statement: ‘Investigation of the homicide of a 20-year-old native (or resident) that took place on May 11, 2021 in Glyka Nera.
‘The perpetrator is her 33-year-old husband, who confessed to his act.’
Senior investigators said the husband was being held in custody pending his prosecution which is expected over the weekend.
Anagnostopoulos’ confession ends a month-long investigation into what authorities billed ‘a near-perfect murder’ for the lack of evidence the killer left behind.
‘He claimed he acted in rage at a time of crisis with his wife,’ Skrekas said. ‘He explained in full detail how he strangled the victim.’
Anagnostopoulos initially told police that he was tied up by three robbers who broke into their home in the early hours, put a gun to his child’s head, strangled his wife, and then got away with £10,000 in cash.
But officers say the couple were bickering in the hours before her death, with text messages exchanged in English showing one had called the other ‘stupid.’
Police from Athens collected Mr Anagnostopoulos by helicopter for another interview on Thursday after he attended a memorial service with relatives on the island of Alonissos.
Babis Anagnostopoulos (left) admitted killing Caroline Crouch (right) after detectives found smartwatch data which suggested she didn’t die when first claimed
The 33-year-old helicopter pilot’s confession came after a six-hour interrogation by Hellenic Police (pictured: Mr Anagnostopoulos and Ms Crouch with their daughter)
Announcing his interview on Thursday, police said: ‘The husband of the victim in Glyka Nera (the Athens suburb) is at the homicide department, in order to be examined as the only eye witness following new data that has emerged from the inquiry.’
New evidence retrieved by digital forensics specialists has also turned up another clue on the CCTV recording equipment that was running at the couple’s home.
On the night of the murder, the memory card was removed from the device, but experts were able to obtain a timing from the clock on the recorder which appears to deviate from the narrative provided by Mr Anagnostopoulos.
But it was also reported that the clock on the device may have been out of sync with the actual time.
Police flew into a Greek island where Mr Anagnostopoulos has been mourning with relatives to shuttle him back to Athens earlier today.
A spokesman from the homicide division told local broadcaster Ant1, ‘the data discovered in the analysis cannot wait.’
The spokesman said that Mr Anagnostopoulos was informed yesterday but police had respected his wishes to attend a memorial for his wife today.
He was whisked away from the island of Alonissos by boat to the neighbouring island of Skiathos where the police helicopter took him back to Athens.
The spokesman told Ant1: ‘We waited for the memorial service to end and then the 33-year-old was transferred to GADA (Police HQ), it could have happened yesterday as well. The husband of the victim was transported to Athens from Alonissos, in order to be examined as the only eyewitness.’
Detectives pored back over details of the crime after their current lines of inquiry failed to yield a viable suspect.
They did arrest a man late last month – a Georgian with a history of violent burglaries who tried to leave the country on a fake passport – but failed to link him to the crime.
DNA evidence collected from underneath Caroline’s fingernails as she fought her attacker has also proved to be inconclusive.
Detectives had been hunting for at least three men – two of who were described as medium height and build, and one shorter and fatter – who Mr Anagnostopoulos said had spoken to him in Greek but spoke a foreign language among themselves.
Babis shared a tribute to his wife Caroline Crouch last month after her death. Under the photo taken on their wedding day he writes: ‘Together forever. Have a nice trip my love’
Mr Anagnostopoulos previously told police that three men broke into his family home early on May 11, stole £10,000 he was keeping in a Monopoly box, then strangled his wife
As well as the Georgian suspect, it was reported that police were looking to speak with an Albanian man who had recently released from prison in the hopes that he might be able to shed light on the crime.
Investigators were trying to work out how burglars had known there was £10,000 in cash in the house, after Mr Anagnostopoulos, a helicopter pilot, told them the thieves seemed to know about it.
According to Mr Anagnostopoulos’ account, he quickly told the robbers the money was kept in a Monopoly box but they demanded more from him.
The men killed the family dog, tied up Mr Anagnostopoulos, then tortured Caroline for an hour to get her to reveal the location of the family’s valuables, before strangling her in front of their daughter.
The killers made off with valuables and a stack of bank notes that Mr Anagnostopoulos had withdrawn to pay for building work.
They left Mr Anagnostopoulos bound to a bed – before he managed to get to a phone and use his nose to dial a neighbour, who alerted police.
Caroline Crouch, 20, was strangled to death in front of her 11-month-old daughter at her home in the Glyka Nera suburb
The Georgian suspect was arrested in the Evros region of north-east Greece on May 21. His car was stopped close to the Bulgarian border for a routine check and he was found to have a fake passport, a police source said.
He was accused, along with four others, of a burglary in Attica in early March where an elderly couple were tied up and robbed of money and jewellery. But police failed to link him to the crime.
Caroline, a statistics student at the University of Piraeus, moved to the island of Alonissos with her Filipino mother Susan Dela Cuesta and British father David Crouch, 78, when she was eight.
The couple met four years ago on the island and were married in July 2019 in a ceremony in Portugal.
Caroline then gave birth to their first child in June last year.