Greek Police (EL.AS) officers on Friday detailed how they collected evidence that eventually led a 32-year-old man to admit to the murder of his wife last month, a case that shocked public opinion in the country, in large part to the heinous nature of the crime and his claim of a “home invasion” by three robbers.
According to EL.AS crime labs director Penelope Miniatou, the crime scene was painstakingly screened at the time, while the use of digital material eventually proved “very crucial”.
The husband of 20-year-old Caroline Crouch on Thursday afternoon admitted that he asphyxiated his wife, with the alleged motive uttered, according to police, being her threats to leave him with their 11-month-old daughter.
Charalambos “Babbis” Anagnostopoulos, 32, had come under discreet but intense police scrutiny since the murder in early May 2021 in the semi-rural Glyka Nera (Sweet Waters) township east of Athens proper.
On Friday he was charged with felony homicide, felonious abuse of an animal – he reportedly choked to death the family’s pet Husky and then hung it by its neck next to a staircase – and two misdemeanors.
“During the examination of the digital evidence it became apparent that there were major inconsistencies. A series of questions were asked, answers to which led to solving this case,” Miniatou said told reporters on Friday.
On his part, homicide bureau chief Costas Hasiotis recounted the first images from the crime scene, saying the victim was lying on the couple’s bed with the husband tied up beside her.
He said the most important clue in the first moments of the investigation was the fact that the 20-year-old woman was smothered to death. Additionally, marks were apparent on the hands and feet of the husband from his bonds, but were barely noticeable, the chief detective said.
In a confession, Anagnostopoulos said he tied himself up and denied the existence of an accomplice.
The trio of evidence caches that led back to the husband as the likely perpetrator, according to authorities, was footage from a CCTV camera in the condominium’s living room, a “smart watch” worn by the victim and Anagnostopoulos’ cell phone.
Additionally, every one of the man’s claims linked with the presumed “home invasion” were thoroughly checked and then ruled out, the pair said.
Hasiotis said the man was presented with the collected evidence and the apparent inconsistencies in his first descriptions and statements to police.
“In the end, he said he didn’t want to deceive anyone anymore, and that the only thing he wanted was to be with his child; he confirmed the evidence from the forensic examination and confessed to his actions,” the bureau chief said.