THE Greek cops who “cracked” the murder of Caroline Crouch have been honoured – despite it taking nearly a month to get her husband to confess.
The two investigators who conducted the interview where Babis Anagnostopoulos revealed the chilling truth were dished the police force’s highest award.
The pilot accepted he had strangled his young wife after eight hours of questioning at police headquarters on June 17.
The country’s civil protection minister praised the men for their dedication in tracking the killer, who for 37 days had pinned the crime on ruthless robbers.
Sick Anagnostopoulos had even slain the family puppy in a bid to make his story more believable.
“I am very excited and happy that I am in charge of a police force which has such officers, people who are so dedicated to their work,” Michalis Chrisohoidis said.
The Athens government in a rare move had announced a 300,000 euro reward for information that would unmask Caroline’s killer.
The Greek police force’s top officer, lieutenant general Michalis Karamalakis, also applauded the investigators for their model work. “From the beginning to the end, the handling of the case was exemplary by the competent authorities and their staff.”
He ignored criticism over the time it had taken for Greek officers to track Caroline’s killer.
The ceremony coincided with heartbreaking tributes to the Brit mum who would have marked her 20thbirthday on Monday.
Crouch, who would also have celebrated the second anniversary of her marriage to the UK-trained pilot on July 15, was found choked to death next to her baby daughter, Lydia, in the couple’s Athens home on May 11.
“She’s been on my mind continuously because yesterday marked two months since her murder and today she would have turned 20, which she didn’t manage to do,” her schoolteacher Kiki Anagnostou told Alpha TV.
“[Instead] she remained 19 leaving behind her parents and her little girl.”
Lydia is now being looked after by Caroline’s Filipina mum, Susan, and Brit dad, David, on Alonissos, the Greek island where she was also raised after the family won custody of the one-year-old.
Greek court officials are investigating the case following Anagnostopoulos’ imprisonment pending trial earlier this month.
A 40-year-old woman, believed to be connected to the pilot’s “professional circle” has been linked to the 33-year-old with some media suggesting the two may have been linked romantically prior to the murder although the unnamed woman has denied the claims.
This came as it was revealed that Anagnostopoulos was using his chopper to smuggle drugs for cartels and wanted to shut her up when she found out.
The couple had recently been on a lavish holiday to Dubai and, had also spent £47,000 on land and designed a £140,000 dream home.
And now police officers, previously in charge of the inquiry, believe 20-year-old Crouch may have found out about her husband’s activities and disapproved.
A source revealed that the pilot had become increasingly controlling with his wife and even placed a tracing app on her phone.
The source added that he was also escorting her to therapy sessions because he was reportedly afraid of her speaking out.
HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – email@example.com.
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
“The way she was murdered suggests she was physically and symbolically shut up.”
Caroline’s mum has been awarded custody of her grandaughter Lydia.
Georgia and Kostas Anagnostopoulos, a mechanical engineer and architect, had been looking after Lydia after Caroline was killed.
Twisted Anagnostopoulos, 33, claimed last week that he wanted to raise his baby daughter from prison.
But a court stripped him of his parental rights and gave exclusive custody of the child to the Crouch family.
The family’s lawyer Thanassis Harmanis told The Sun Online: “Susan was happy yesterday. She will be able to see Caroline again in the eyes of Lydia.”
The emotional handover began around 9am in Athens, when little Lydia was seen being carried down the street to a car by Anagnostopoulos’ mum and brother Fotis.
She was clutching a bag carrying Lydia’s clothes and other items.