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Society

Greek Pilot Jailed for Wife’s Murder Says Life Threatened, Contract Out

ATHENS – A Greek helicopter serving life after being convicted for suffocating his British wife to death – with their one-year-old daughter in the room – has appealed to be kept in a high-security prison, claiming that people rounded up after he said it was the result of a home invasion have taken out a contract to have him slain.

In a written submission wanting to stay in Korydallos prison, Babis Anagnostopoulos, 34, said inmates told him there was “a huge amount of money” being offered for his life. “It has emerged there is a ‘contract killing’ against me,” he was quoted as saying by the Greek TV channel Star.

After the killing of his wife, Caroline Crouch, 20, he told police it was done by a gang of home invaders and for days police rounded up potential suspects, said the British newspaper The Guardian, with one – a 43-year-old Georgian accused of being a member of a robbery gang – saying he was tortured by police demanding a confession for the brutal murder.

For 37 days, Anagnostopoulos presented himself as a heartbroken widower, pinning the murder on ruthless “Albanian or Georgian thieves” who had broken into the house, the report also noted.

The shocking way in which Crouch was killed – while asleep in their couple’s apartment with her baby nearby, raised outrage in Greece and had the government offer a 300,00 euro ($315,600) reward to find who was responsible.

The truth was discovered – the family pet dog was also killed – when an analysis of the smartwatch Crouch was wearing and data on the Greek pilot’s mobile phone revealed inconsistencies in his version.

He eventually confessed but not before other people being questioned were said to have been put through grueling sessions by police bent on finding out who committed the heinous crime, the report said, adding they were taken in after Anagnostopoulos pointed them out in lineups.

His appeal came after being transferred to Malandrinos prison in the central Greek region of Fokida, his laywer, Alexandros Papaioannidis, saying it put his client’s life at risk.

“He would be much safer in Korydallos,” the attorney said, adding that Anagnostopoulos had been threatened by a Georgian prisoner who had wanted to kill him in January.

“Conditions in Malandrinos are very difficult. The vast majority of inmates are foreign and they are hardened criminals. We have requested that he be returned to Korydallos for humanitarian and security reasons,” also said  Papaioannidis.

Anagnostopoulos said he wants to study law while in prison and hopes to become an attorney if he ever gets out of jail, no indication whether that would be allowed under Greek law.

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