A Greek helicopter pilot who claimed he killed his British wife, Caroline Crouch, 20, in a fit of anger following a row that had “blurred” his senses, has been found guilty of murder at the end of a trial watched closely in Greece and abroad.
The seven-member mixed tribunal of judges and jurors concluded unanimously that Babis Anagnostopoulos was culpable of premeditated murder and perverting the course of justice.
The 34-year-old UK-trained aviator, who had staged a break-in in an attempt to cover up the crime – a line of defence he maintained for nearly six weeks – was expressionless as the verdict was announced. Under Greek law he is likely to receive a 20-year prison term – the maximum sentence under Greek law.
Before the verdict was announced, the public prosecutor, Eugenia Stathopoulou, said all the facts pointed to the murder being cold-blooded and planned.
The tribunal unanimously rejected the pilot’s attempt to present the murder as a “crime of passion” that might have resulted in a reduced penalty.
Appealing for the maximum term possible prior to the verdict, Athanasios Haramis, the Crouch family lawyer, described Anagnostopoulos as “a multitalented actor” who thought he had pulled off the “perfect crime” for which he remained shamelessly unrepentant.
Stathopoulou told the court that Anagnostopoulos had suffocated his wife with a pillow while lying on top of her during an unprovoked attack while she was asleep.