ATHENS – A 34-year-old Greek helicopter pilot who authorites said strangled his 20-year-old British wife as she slept in their home tried to have power over every aspect of her life, according to testimony at his trial.
Eleni Mylonopoulou, a counselor who had seen the pair over several months in marriage therapy, told the court that Babis Anagnostopoulos wanted to have total control of Caroline Crouch.
He has admitted killing her after concocting a cover story for police that home invaders murdered her in front of their infant daughter, sleeping near her, before an investigation led him to confess.
“The behavior of the accused towards Caroline was extremely manipulative, extremely controlling,” said Mylponopolou, saying he was aware of his acts and had been abusive toward his wife.
“Very often Caroline didn’t understand herself … she would be closed in the house for days alone,” the counselor said, reported the British newspaper The Guardian in a trial that has again gripped the country over every detail.
Mylonopoulou told the court it was clear to her that Crouch had been desperate to leave Anagnostopoulos, whom she had met as a teenager on Alonissos, the island where she was raised.
“From the very first session, the 20-year-old had confided that she wanted to take the child and leave,” she said, explaining that Crouch had complained of often being left without any means to even shop.
“Her mother would send her money and he would take it … she didn’t even have five euros on her. She wanted to go to a pastry school but she didn’t have the money to attend. She couldn’t move about. Everything had to happen with a taxi driver friend of the accused … when a person is manipulative like the accused he wants at any moment to know where the other is.”
She said she saw the couple about two dozen times before she got a note from Anagnostopoulos ending the sessions without an explanation, but she didn’t say why he had initially taken part given what she said was his nature.
He wasn’t taken into custody for some six weeks after the killing, during which he went to her funeral on the island tearfully embraced her unaware and grieving parents before he admitted the killing.
With Greece in a spiral of femicides then, about a woman a month being killed by a husband or partner, Greek authorites offered a 300,000-euro ($324,373) for information leading to the killer or killers.
He also admitted killing Caroline’s seven-month-old puppy in an attempt to make his claim of a violent burglary appear more realistic, and is charged with pre-meditated murder, animal abuse and lying to police, which could mean life in prison if he is found guilty.
Anagnostopoulos, who claims he committed the crime in “a blurred state of mind,” has personally questioned several witnesses in an apparent attempt to show what he said he did wasn’t planned, which would bring a reduced sentence.
Cross-examining the counselor – as allowed under Greek law – he attempted to discredit her assertions he had been manipulative and controlling, the report said of his tactics.
That led to a verbal sparring session between them as she told the court she was convinced he had been the killer when the news broke of the murder, and that she called her lawyer about her belief.
She said that the killing of the dog, Roxy, was further proof of what she had alleged about his actions and controlling nature.
“Caroline adored that dog. To kill it first was symbolic. And Caroline was asleep. He killed her in her sleep. He had her in his hands. The life was drained from her in his hands,” she said, saying the murder was a controling act too, to the end.
“He could feel (her dying) and he murdered her. He also exhibited abusive behavior towards the child, which he placed next to her mother’s dead body … a baby has a special relationship with her mother, which he abused, putting her next to the lifeless body of her mother,” she said.