Caroline Crouch’s killer husband is accused of ‘play acting’

A lawyer representing the family of a murdered British woman has accused her killer husband of ‘play-acting’ after he once again postponed his appeal.

Caroline Crouch, 20, was killed by her helicopter pilot husband Charalambos Babis Anagnostopoulos, 35, in front of their then nine-month-old daughter Lydia at their home two years ago.

Last May he was convicted of the brutal murder and sentenced to 27 years but he has appealed claiming mitigating circumstances in that he only reacted as he did out of fear for Lydia as he thought Caroline would hurt her.

However, his stop start appeal which began in February, has plodded along at a ridiculous snail’s pace with dates postponed constantly due to Anagnostopoulos’ lawyer being unavailable or Babis claiming he is ‘ill’.

On Tuesday the case at Athens appeal court was adjourned within minutes of it opening after more delay tactics were used by the twisted killer’s legal team which left Crouch family lawyer Thanassis Harmarnis furious.

Greek helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopoulos leaves the Athens Court of Appeal escorted by an armed police officer on 8 May 2023

Anagnostopoulos told the court today that he regretted what he did. Pictured in Athens, 8 May

Anagnostopoulos told the court today that he regretted what he did. Pictured in Athens, 8 May

He told MailOnline: ‘What we are seeing in this case is something that is unheard of anywhere else in Europe and it is trying my patience and that of the court.

‘Every few weeks I travel three hours in one direction only for the case to be adjourned after we start and then I have to travel three hours back.

‘Babis may well be studying for his law exams in prison so he can get a law degree but in my opinion he should apply for acting school. It is a joke. It’s play acting.

‘I have to ask myself if this case will ever finish and why these delaying tactics. I think we have sat for maybe four hours in total since we started all this back in February.’

Caroline’s father retired engineer David also blasted the delay and told MailOnline: ‘This has become a farce.

‘What I can’t understand is why the Greek judicial system allows all this buggering about, why can’t they just tell them to present their case and if they don’t, tough luck.’

In the latest session Anagnostopoulos’ lawyer Alexandros Papaioannides said he was unable to attend and it then emerged his substitute was not qualified to act for the defendant who was also not in court.

The president of the court reluctantly agreed to an adjournment until Thursday but stressed it must proceed and scheduled further hearings for next month so the case could be completed.

Anagnostopoulos was held by police after spinning a web of lies claiming burglars had killed Caroline after breaking into their upmarket apartment in a suburb of the Greek capital Athens.

He even callously killed the couple’s dog, Roxy, to make the story more realistic before smothering Caroline in her sleep and then tying himself up.

Detectives cracked the case after noticing data on fitness apps on Caroline’s smart watch didn’t tally with his story and he was held after crying crocodile tears at his wife’s funeral on the island of Alonissos.

Charalambos (Babis) Anagnostopoulos (R) wife Caroline Crouch (L) and their baby daughter

Charalambos (Babis) Anagnostopoulos (R) wife Caroline Crouch (L) and their baby daughter

Anagnostopoulos was found guilty of the pre-meditated murder of his wife and sentenced to 27 and a half years in prison in 2022 for the crime.

This included a jail term of 11 years and six months for the killing of Roxy, as well as a 21,000 euro fine (£18,316).

For the murder of his wife, he received a life sentence.

After the sentencing was passed, his lawyer said the outcome was ‘expected’.

But Agnostopoulos has sought to reduce the sentence on the basis that, he claims, the killing was not premeditated.

In February, Crouch’s family spoke out against the appeal.

Her father said: ‘It is absolutely despicable that my daughter’s killer is trying to get his prison sentence reduced because of his “good behaviour.”

‘The crime committed by the murderer, that of femicide, is a heinous crime that should deserve particularly severe punishment. 

‘In my opinion, men who kill their wives, for whatever reason, are the lowest of the low, ranking alongside paedophiles.’

Agnostopoulos called his parents and another four witnesses to take the stand in his defence during an appeal in early May.  

Ahead of a hearing on 8 May, defence lawyer Alexandros Papaioannides said: ‘There are going to be quite a lot of new witnesses and documents that will contain elements that will help reverse this case. 

‘I think there will be a more correct assessment [by the court] of the circumstances that prevailed that day in regards to the crime he committed and whether it was committed in the heat of the moment.’

Babis Anagnostopoulos leaves the Athens Court of Appeal on 8 May 2023

 Babis Anagnostopoulos leaves the Athens Court of Appeal on 8 May 2023

Babis Anagnostopoulos (left) is pictured with Caroline Crouch (right)

Babis Anagnostopoulos (left) is pictured with Caroline Crouch (right) 

Papaioannidis has previously argued his client is a ‘model prisoner’ who ‘reads a lot and works in the prison canteen’ and should not be punished for a crime ‘that was never premeditated.’ 

The state coroner has said that Crouch would have suffered ‘a long and agonising death’.

She was pinned down by the pilot as she slept in the couple’s Athens maisonette, resisting as she attempted to fight back as he suffocated her for five minutes with a pillow.