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Society

Greek Pilot Wishes He Could Undo Wife’s Murder, But Blames Her

ATHENS – He admitted killing his wife during a heated argument – blaming her for “aggressive” behavior – but Greek helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopoulos said he wishes he hadn't done it.

Wearing a bulletproof vest and taken into a court with a phalanx of armed police as crowds yelled at him, “Rot in prison,” he reportedly said that, “I wish I could go back in time –  but sadly, I can’t.”

He gave five hours of testimony after initially telling investigators that his wife was killed when their Glyka Nera home in northeastern Athens was burglarized on May 11, Sky News, the BBC and other media reports said.

He had tried to throw police off by claiming she was killed during a home invasion by three men and that he was tied up while she was slain with their nearly one-year-old daughter, Lydia nearby.

That unraveled with police used technology to find the evidence against him, including his own fitness watch that showed he was walking around their house while he said he was restrained.

Her smart phone also showed she was fighting for five to six minutes while he was suffocating her before saying he undid his restraints and called police. He reportedly put their daughter next to her corpse and choked the family dog to death as well.

He said the attack was not premeditated, but had happened in rage during an argument after earlier reports revealed her diary and that the couple were having heated disagreements.

“It was a confessed act and it is a confessed act,” his lawyer Alexandros Papaioannidis told reporters later.

Anagnostopoulos had previously admitted he “lost his temper” when Crouch threatened to leave him and take their 11-month-old daughter, Lydia, reports said. His attorney said: “This is a long interrogation and all the necessary clarifications were given.

“The accused answered several questions. He did not change his allegations in relation to his pretrial testimony and there is further evidence that was brought to our attention,” Papaioannidis said, the Sun reported.

“I convey his apology. … he asked for his punishment and claimed that in no case is there an accomplice,” he added. “The accused gave his own view of what happened. What he did was guided by his child’s wellbeing. He wants to support the custody of the child to go to both families.”

Proto Thema reported he also apologized for “destroying two families and his child’s future,” with custody not yet decided between his parents and those of his wife, a British-Filipino who grew up on the island of Alonnisos, where they live.

Despite the confession and apology he said, “There is no evidence of my guilt for the crimes I am accused of, which is the first and most essential legal requirement in order to impose my temporary detention,” the Sun reported, citing the in.gr news outlet.

He said that his wife – whom he met when she was a minor – was at fault for their deteriorating relationship and that her “behavior changed” and that he suggested counseling but she “was finding excuses not to go and eventually stopped.”

He requested an expert examination of the surveillance camera in the couple’s home to establish when the memory card was removed, in a bid to prove the crime occurred in a fit of rage, not after planning which would make it premeditated, although life sentences in Greece can be as short as 16 years.

He requested to have his friends and family brought in as witnesses for his defense and, as he said, to explain their relationship. He said the were happy but problems began just before they got married in 2019 and she had a miscarriage.

Anagnostopoulos was taken to Korydallos prison in Athens, Greece's largest jail.

On his way to jail he addressed journalists at the courthouse saying "a big apology," Kathimerini reported.

The incident was so shocking that the New Democracy government offered a 300,000 euro ($358,470) reward for information leading to the killer. 

Investigators found no trace of the gang he claimed had tied him up, suffocated his wife and stolen 15,000 euro ($17,920.50) in cash.

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