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Caroline Crouch's husband in bulletproof vest as he arrives court to face murder charge

The husband of murdered Briton Caroline Crouch has told police that he hatched an elaborate plot to cover up her murder by staging a burglary because he couldn't bear the thought of their daughter growing up without parents.

'I did not want to go to prison, because I wanted to raise my daughter,' 33-year-old Babis Anagnostopoulos is said to have told detectives as he confessed to killing her in a fit of rage after she threatened to divorce him and take their baby daughter.

Police revealed the pilot's grovelling admission today, minutes before he appeared in court wearing a bullet-proof vest where he was officially charged with Caroline's murder and the death of the family pet - a seven-month-old husky puppy that police say he drowned as part of his cover-up. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Recalling the moment Babis's story finally collapsed after a six-week goose chase for a gang of masked raiders that he had dreamed up, police chief Petros Tzeferis said he told detectives: 'I tied myself up.

'I did everything because when I realised I killed her, I thought of my child.'

Meanwhile astonishing images revealed the moment that Babis hugged Caroline's distraught mother at her memorial service on Wednesday, just hours before he confessed to being her killer.

The embrace took place as detectives arrived to call Babis away from the service - claiming they had arrested a new suspect and needed his help to identify him.

In fact, the suspect that police wanted Babis to identify was himself - which he is said to have done during eight hours of interrogations.

Police announced late Thursday that Babis had confessed to smothering Caroline during a fight at their home in the early hours of May 11.

Detectives say he then concocted an elaborate story about a break-in and spent the pre-dawn hours staging the raid, including lurid allegations that three men had tied up him and his wife, threatened their infant daughter with a gun, strangled Caroline to death, then fled with £10,000 in a case which shocked Greece.

But detectives now say it was nothing more than a fabrication which fell apart when data collected from a fitness tracker on Caroline's wrist showed her heart had stopped beating before the alleged break-in took place.

More tracking data from Babis's phone also showed him moving from the attic to the basement of the house and back again, despite claiming to have spent all night tied to the bed.

And data from a security camera at the home showed its memory card had been removed at 1.20am - again, hours before Babis claimed the break-in happened.

It was this evidence that prompted Greek police to drag the father away from his wife's memorial service, where he had been continuing to play the part of the grieving widower.

He was taken by boat to a neighbouring island before being loaded into a helicopter and flown back to Athens - and it was during this journey that he seemed to grasp the truth of what police were up to, Protothema reports.

After arriving at police headquarters, Babis was taken to an interrogation room and seemed to understand that he was being questioned as a suspect rather than a witness, a senior officer said.

After a short opening exchange Babis is said to have snapped and told investigators: 'I killed her. I will tell you everything in detail.'

'It really didn't take long for him to confess,' said a senior investigator. 'He said he had been fighting with Caroline for some time and they were fighting that night, exchanging heated text messages while he was on the ground floor and she was in the attic.

'At one point,' he said, 'when Caroline texted him that he was "stupid," he lost his cool. He disabled the home's surveillance camera, discarding its memory card, before charging up to the attic where he had another heated argument with Caroline, pushing her onto a bed there, and smothering her to death.'

The officer said Babis recounted the story of his relationship with Caroline, from their first meeting while he was on holiday in Alonissos to falling in love and then their marriage in 2018.

But he said their marriage had devolved into daily arguments driven by his fear that she was planning to leave him, which culminated in her ordering him out of the house and asking for a divorce.

Babis is said to have told officers that he threw her down on the bed and pressed her face into a pillow until she passed out, before realising he had killed her.

He then drowned the family dog in an area outside the home and removed the CCTV memory card which he snapped and flushed down the toilet.

After his confession was over, police left Babis in the company of two psychologists and then announced his guilt to the world in a statement at 9.36pm local time on Thursday evening.

“Suspicions loomed from the start,” Police Chief Petros Tzeferis said. “But we lacked the hard evidence.”

Still, weeks into the investigation, a step-counter detected on the husband’s smartphone, yielded the most damning piece of evidence, authorities said, quickly shifting the focus of the investigation onto the husband.

“It showed that he was moving during the time he claimed to have been immobilized by the robbers,” said Penelope Maniatis, director of the Greek Police’s forensics department. “This was the first major inconsistency created in his testimony and the first clear suspicion created about his potential involvement.”

Coupled with other digital forensic finds, including from the fitness watch, investigators managed to establish a case against the husband.

An examination of Crouch’s mobile phone, authorities said, also showed that on the night of the crime, the 20-year-old mother was trying to book herself and daughter, Lydia, into a hotel room.

“I never wanted to lie,” Anagnostopoulos said in the course of his marathon confession late Thursday. “I did what I did to evade arrest; to protect my daughter.”

The fate of the 11-month old infant remained unclear. Authorities refused to say whether she would be placed in the care of social services or her grandparents – Crouch’s Filipino mother and British father.

Babis said 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.

'She pushed me and punched me. I lost my temper, I suffocated her with the pillow. Τhen I made up the robbery.'

Laying out what they believe to be the true timeline of events on the morning of May 11 to news site Protothema police said a downstairs CCTV camera had captured its last images shortly after midnight, as Babis sat on the sofa downstairs cradling his daughter and arguing over text with Caroline, who was upstairs.

They say the camera's memory card was removed at 1.20am while the argument was still ongoing, and which continued for another two hours and 40 minutes.

Then, at precisely 4.01am, Caroline's fitness tracker captured an intense burst of heart activity, which is when they believe the couple came to blows.

The activity continued for another 10 minutes, until Caroline's heart stopped beating around 4.11 am.

The confession comes five weeks after Babis led mourners at Ms Crouch's funeral and read a eulogy while standing over her grave.

'Our loved ones are the most important people to us all,' he said at the time - wiping away tears while holding their baby daughter in his arms.

'You should always look after your loved ones and enjoy your time together.'

On social media, the young couple appeared to enjoy a blessed life - 20-year-old Caroline posting snaps of the couple with their daughter, or else showing off their idyllic-seeming life in Greece as she wandered on sunny beaches in bikinis.

The pair had met while Babis was on holiday to the Greek island of Alonissos where Caroline, who was born in the UK, had lived with her parents since the age of eight.

They were married in 2018, and she gave birth to their first child - a daughter - in June last year.

But a friend said last night that the idyllic images were a mirage - in fact, Babis was a jealous and controlling husband and Caroline was deeply unhappy.

'She could not have the time she wanted with her friends and she was constantly expressing her complaints about his behavior,' a source told Greek news site Ethnos.

It was a fact that police had also uncovered during their investigation, after speaking with a psychologist who was treating both Babis and Caroline in separate sessions.

At the time, it was reported that Caroline was suffering from post-natal depression. Officers did not say what Babis was being treated for.

Texts found by police on the coupe's phones also reinforced suspicions of a less-than happy marriage, with police saying messages exchanged in English showed that one had called the other 'stupid.'

On the night of the murder, Caroline had allegedly messaged a friend saying that she was leaving Babis.

Phone data also showed that Caroline had attempted to book herself into a hotel on the night she died, detectives said.

TV footage taken at Caroline's memorial service on Wednesday shows men who are believed to be police (pictured wearing green and red tops) asking Babis to go with them

Moment Babis Anagnostopoulos hugged the grieving mother of his dead wife at her memorial service - just hours before he confessed to being her killer

Babis (circled) is seen walking through a crowd of Caroline's family outside the service as he is ushered away by investigators

A helicopter carrying Babis takes off from a Greek island, carrying him to Athens where he is said to have confessed during eight hours of interrogations

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My view: He's a demon, he said didn't want to go to jail, but he'll now spend the rest of his evil life in prison.


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