It was a little before 6am on May 11 when police sirens broke the early-morning calm in Glyka Nera, an upmarket suburb of Athens – cars racing down a narrow residential street to the home of Charalambos Anagnostopoulos and his wife Caroline Crouch.
They had been sent there by a neighbour who received a disturbing call from what sounded like Charalambos just minutes earlier. His voice was muffled, but she was sure that something was terribly wrong.
When officers made it inside, the scene that greeted them inside was the stuff of nightmares: a seven-month old husky puppy hanged from a banister, Caroline’s body sprawled on the bed upstairs with clothing stuffed in her mouth, her 11-month old daughter beside her, hitting her in a vain attempt to wake her up.
On the floor, blindfolded and tied to a bedpost, was Charalambos – known to most simply as ‘Babis’. Confused and distraught, his first question when freed by officers was to ask whether his wife was OK.
The story broke quickly, making headlines across the world; a horror burglary, a mother killed in front of her daughter, and the poor father made to listen throughout before being abandoned in a room with his wife’s body for hours, not knowing she was lying dead mere inches away.
Only detectives now say that was an elaborate fiction, cooked up by Babis himself.
He knew full well she was dead, they allege, because he was the one who killed her – smothering her to death in a fit of rage after she ordered him out of the house and told him that she wanted a divorce.
Police say they suspected him from the moment they arrived but played along with his burglary narrative in public so as not to spook him – all the while building a case against their true target in the background.
On Wednesday, they struck: dragging him away from a memorial service for Caroline on the pretence of needing him to help identify a new chief suspect – without revealing that suspect was in fact him.
After a brief but emotional hug with Caroline’s mother, he was whisked back to Athens for eight hours of interrogations that police say ended with a confession.
Here, MailOnline charts the story, from the discovery of the crime scene to Babis’s chilling admission…
For 37 days Charalambos Anagnostopoulos kept up the elaborate tale of how his wife Caroline was murdered in front of their 11-month-old daughter as he could only lie their helplessly bound to a bed at their home in the suburbs of Athens. Last night, police say he finally cracked and revealed he was the killer
May 11: Caroline Crouch is found dead in Athens home
The tragedy dramatically unfolded when police arrived at a home in the Glyka Nera suburb of Athens to discover the scene of a horror home invasion on May 11.
Officers were faced with gruesome scenes after entering the house as a drowned husky puppy had been left hanging from a banister, Caroline’s body had been left sprawled across a bed with clothing stuffed in her mouth with her 11-month old daughter sitting beside her.
The home had been left in complete disarray as a latch was broken on a downstairs window, hiding spots where the family kept valuables had been ransacked while Caroline’s husband Anagnostopoulos had been left tied to a bedpost blindfolded.
Anagnostopoulos, known as Babis, began to spin his elaborate story as he blamed the nightmarish scenes on three armed raiders, who he told police had broken into his home at around 5am while a fourth man had stood guard outside.
Missing from the family home was jewellery worth £21,500 and £13,000 in cash, while the armed raiders had fled from the scene by the time a neighbour had phoned police to alert them to the robbery.
The helicopter pilot, who trained in Liverpool, concocted the plot worthy of a TV show as he claimed he was only able to raise the alarm by using his nose to dial the police and a neighbour, saying he did not realise that his wife lay dead beside him.
The husband appeared completely distraught as he arrived to collected possessions from his home, which was the memorable moment when he was also seen by reporters for the very first time since his wife’s murder.
A distressed Babis heartbreakingly said in Greek that he had ‘begged’ the men not to hurt his wife and his 11-month-old daughter and vowed that his wife’s killers would be caught.
The thorough robbery concocted by Babis himself has since been deemed by authorities as ‘a near-perfect murder’ as he hardly left a speak of evidence behind as he painstakingly spent the early hours staging the crime.
It wasn’t long before the heartbreaking story had rebounded across the world and the Government issued a staggering £258,000 reward for information as police worked to solve the crime.
But after a month-long investigation, police said Babis in fact spent hours staging the horrific crime scene before tying himself to the bedpost after he smothered Caroline to death when she threatened to leave him during a heated row.
The shocking twist came as police revealed that officers had ‘immediately’ suspected Babis of committing the murder, after they noticed his ‘cold’ demeanour when they first arrived at the chilling scene.
Investigators arrive at the scene of what they are told is an horrific burglary at the home in the Glyka Nera suburb of Athens on May 11
Police cordon off the property after walking into the gruesome scene. Caroline dead and the family’s husky strangled with its leash
May 12: Husband claims thieves put a gun to his baby’s temple
Just one day later, Babis added further heartbreak to the tragic story by claiming that the raiders had tortured his wife for more than an hour before she revealed the location of the family’s valuables.
Recounting his story to police, he said he could hear his wife screaming as he was tied up helplessly to a bed, only able to beg for the three armed men not to hurt them.
Babis said he saw a gunman put a pistol to his 11-month-old baby daughter’s head before his wife was suffocated when she began screaming and he was left unable to hear Caroline’s voice anymore.
‘I heard my wife screaming for help tied to the bed while I was tied to the floor,’ Anagnostopoulos reportedly told police. ‘We screamed not to be hurt.
‘The baby was crying, my wife was crying and someone or some people were looking for the house to find more money and jewellery. Suddenly they left the room and I couldn’t hear my wife’s voice anymore.’
He described the ordeal as a ‘nightmare’ as he spoke to Greek TV outside his home just one day after the murder, where he vowed that the police would be able to catch his wife’s killers.
He continued: ‘I wish no one ever goes through what we went through last night. It was a nightmare.
‘We begged the thieves not to harm us. We told them where the money was and asked them to leave us alone. The police will catch them.’
As the investigation got underway, police investigations focused on similar burglaries that had taken place in the capital as they tried to track down suspects, potentially gang members.
Anagnostopoulos had told the police that the three armed raiders had foreign accents, so working from his account of the crime, police announced that they were hunting for men who spoke in ‘broken Greek’.
On the very same day, medical examiner Grigoris Leos told a local paper that although burglars do not intend to kill most of the time, whoever murdered Caroline had been ‘determined’ to kill her in a slow and torturous way.
‘This crime has a noticeable difference with several others that take place after a robbery, as many times the robbers do not intend to kill,’ he told the To Vima newspaper.
‘But in this case we are talking about a young girl and we are talking about people who were determined to kill this girl and if it is confirmed for a suffocating death we are talking about a slow and torturous death. Therefore, the perpetrator wanted to lead his victim to death.’
Anagnostopoulos speaks to reporters outside the home after returning to pick up personal possessions whilst accompanied by three police officers
Police described the crime as the ‘most heinous’ they have ever investigated, and say it was carried out with a ‘brutality’ that is rare in Greece. Pictured: the house where the murder took place
May 13: Husband claims he didn’t know his wife was dead
A police source revealed that when they arrived at the scene Caroline’s 11-month-old daughter was ‘hitting her mother with her hands and trying to wake her up.’
The baby was said to be ‘half on her, screaming and hitting her mother with her hands to wake her up’ when help arrived, while father Anagnostopoulos was tied up, blindfolded and gagged on the floor.
Anagnostopoulos spoke to the media outside the house again, two days after the killing, to weep in front of the cameras and reveal how he didn’t know his wife was dead until officers pulled off the tape covering his eyes.
He then left the house carrying his baby and handed her to his mother who was photographed outside the home.
Anagnostopoulos weeps as he speaks to reporters outside the family home in Athens after the murder, saying he did not know his wife was dead until police arrived and took his blindfold off
May 14: Pilot eulogises his wife and cradles baby at Caroline’s funeral attended by hundreds on the island of Alonnisos
Hundreds of mourners gathered for Caroline’s funeral three days after her death on the island of Alonnisos where she grew up after moving from Britain aged eight – and where she met her helicopter pilot husband.
Anagnostopoulos paid tribute to his ‘beautiful’ wife’ in front of the islanders who adopted the young Briton as their own at the island’s Agia Paraskevi church.
He flew in with his baby by helicopter to the island where shops and businesses closed as a mark of respect. The island of little more than 2,000 people came to standstill as the funeral took place.
At this stage, it was reported that Anagnostopoulos was still helping police who were struggling to fathom why the burglars would have killed Caroline when they had already been directed to the £30,000 in cash and gems.
In his eulogy, Anagnostopoulos told mourners: ‘I was very lucky that I knew Caroline and that she loved me. I was very lucky for all the moments we shared.
‘One thing that makes me even more sad than her death is the fact that our daughter will grow up without remembering her beautiful mother who was the joy of my life.
‘But through her daughter, Caroline will always be with me and with all of us. Our loved ones are the most important people to us all.’
After wiping away his tears, he added: ‘You should always look after your loved ones and enjoy your time together.’
During the funeral the pilot carried their baby over to lay a singer flower on her mother’s coffin and carried her in his arms throughout the day.
The congregation could see him holding her during the moment the pair said their final goodbyes to Caroline as her body was laid to rest in the hilltop cemetery.
Anagnostopoulos holds his 11-month-old daughter during the funeral of his wife Caroline on the island of Alonissos in Greece on May 14
Caroline Crouch is carried into the Agia Paraskevi church in an open casket for her funeral on the island of Alonissos
Almost every inhabitant of Alonnisos flocked to the island’s Agia Paraskevi church to pay their respects to Caroline Crouch, the young Briton who they had adopted as their own
Caroline’s friends and family arrive at the Agia Parakevi church for her funeral – many were carrying white flowers as they paid tribute to the 20-year-old mother
May 16: Cops arrest a Georgian man on the Bulgarian border
Five days after the killing Anagnostopolous posted an Instagram tribute to his wife. The news came as police detained a known burglar on the Bulgarian border for questioning.
Under a photo of the newlyweds holding hands and beaming with joy on a beach, the helicopter pilot wrote in Greek: ‘Together forever. Have a nice trip my love.’
A Georgian man had earlier been arrested in Evros, in the far north-east of Greece, which is the main route into Bulgaria.
The suspect, who was travelling by car, was held following a routine police stop to cross check his identification when they discovered he was travelling on a fake passport.
A police source said DNA analysis suggested he was one of five people who tied up an old couple and their cleaning lady in a burglary in Pikermi on March 7. The home is just 20 minutes drive from the Glyka Nera neighbourhood where Caroline was murdered.
It was also revealed that Anagnostopolous had helped police to identify two of the weapons carried by the raiders.
He said the burglars were armed with a silver Colt and a black pistol.
Police said the weapons were unusual to find in Greece and believe tracing them could prove vital in identifying Caroline’s killers.
Babis Anagnostopolous shared a tribute to his wife Caroline Crouch. Under the photo taken on their wedding day he writes: ‘Together forever. Have a nice trip my love’
The Georgian man was arrested in Evros, in the far north-east of Greece, which is the main route to Bulgaria
Caroline’s mother tells of her anguish
Caroline’s heartbroken mother spoke to MailOnline a week after the murder, saying: ‘There are no words that can express my pain’.
Susan Dela Guesta was interviewed on the Greek island of Alonissos where Caroline was buried just a few days before.
‘So many people have spoken about Caroline and what a lovely person she was. But for me her death is too raw for me speak about her. I am sorry. I am not in a good place,’ the mother said.
She spoke as police in Greece confirmed that they were probing whether the robbers knew there was cash at the house because the married couple were about to buy some land and start building works.
This is because Anagnostopolous had told detectives that a robber had shouted at him: ‘Where is the money.’
Although blindfolded, Anagnostopolous told cops that through a hole in the duct tape he managed to identify the robbers as two six-foot-tall slim, athletic men, and a short, fat man, who appeared be the leader.
The taller men wore black hoods. One carried a silver-coloured revolver, the other a black pistol. The third man wore a balaclava and was unarmed.
Caroline’s mother Susan Dela Guesta (pictured above at her daughter’s graveside on the island of Alonnisos in Greece) told MailOnline how she cannot come to terms with the killing
Husband comes face-to-face with Georgian suspect at police line up
Nine days after the killing, a 43-year-old Georgian national is pictured being dragged into a Greek police station where he came face-to-face with Anagnostopoulos.
It was not clear if Anagnostopoulos was able to identify the Georgian as one of the gangsters he claimed raided his home and murdered his wife.
Wearing a black tracksuit with a hoodie wrapped around his face and his hands cuffed behind his back, the suspect was later marched into a courthouse by two police officers for a short hearing closed to the public.
He was charged with carrying out a violent burglary in March that bore similarities with the break-in at Caroline’s home in Glyka Nera.
He is accused of being one of five robbers who tied up an elderly couple and their cleaning lady in the brutal raid on a home in Pikermi, a 20 minute drive away from Glyka Nera.
A police source said that even if the Georgian wasn’t one of the robbers who broke into Caroline’s home, he is thought to be part of the same network of criminal gangs.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that Greek police were hunting an Albanian recently released from prison in connection with Caroline’s death.
Nine days after the killing a 43-year-old Georgian national is pictured being dragged into a Greek police station where he came face-to-face with Anagnostopoulos
It is not clear if Anagnostopoulos is able to identify the Georgian as one of the gangsters he claims raided his home and murdered his wife
Greek police quiz psychologist who was treating Caroline for post-natal depression and also providing treatment to her husband for an unknown condition
Police say the psychologist was treating Caroline for post-natal depression, and was separately providing treatment to her husband for an unknown condition.
The news came as it was revealed that detectives were planning to interview Anagnostopoulos for a second time, to ‘go over what happened in even further detail’ on the night his wife was killed.
Police said they were going back over details of the crime after their current lines of inquiry failed to yield a viable suspect.
It was further revealed that police had failed to link the Georgian to the crime.
Late last month, police revealed that a psychologist was treating Caroline for post-natal depression, and was separately providing treatment to her husband for an unknown condition
Anagnostopoulos consoles his mother-in-law at memorial as net tightens
Astonishing images revealed how Anagnostopoulos consoled Caroline’s distraught mother at a memorial service on the island of Alonnisos on Wednesday while knowing that cops wanted to question him again.
Police say they honoured his wishes not to intrude on the memorial service at which Anagnostopoulos was pictured embracing his mother-in-law and surrounded by Caroline’s friends and family.
Last night, it was revealed that a digital forensics team had uncovered new evidence which meant cops wanted to speak with the husband again.
Detectives said they’d extracted biometric data from Caroline’s watch which they believe pinpoints the exact moment her heart stopped beating – which officers said differs from Anagnostopoulos’ version of events.
Cops also revealed the couple were bickering in the hours before her death, with text messages exchanged in English showing one had called the other ‘stupid.’
Police from Athens collected Anagnostopoulos by helicopter after he attended the service on the island of Alonissos – where his wife is buried.
In their first official statement in five weeks, the police said: ‘The husband of the victim in Glyka Nera (the Athens suburb) is at the homicide department, in order to be examined as the only eye witness following new data that has emerged from the inquiry.’
This is the moment Babis Anagnostopoulos hugged the grieving mother of his dead wife at her memorial service – just hours before he confessed to being her killer
Babis (circled) is seen walking through a crowd of Caroline’s family outside the service as he is ushered away by investigators
A helicopter carrying Babis takes off from a Greek island, carrying him to Athens where he is said to have confessed during eight hours of interrogations
Husband confesses and says ‘I didn’t want to go to jail. I wanted to raise my daughter’
Late on Thursday, 37 days after the murder, police claim that Anagnostopoulos has confessed to killing Caroline in a fit of rage after she threatened to divorce him and take their baby daughter.
‘I did not want to go to prison, because I wanted to raise my daughter,’ the 33-year-old allegedly told police.
He is seen on Friday afternoon wearing a bullet-proof vest and surrounded by officers escorting him into court in Athens.
Recalling the moment Babis’s story finally collapsed after a six-week goose chase for a gang of masked raiders that he had dreamed up, police chief Petros Tzeferis said he told detectives: ‘I tied myself up. I did everything because when I realised I killed her, I thought of my child.’
After arriving at police headquarters, Babis was taken to an interrogation room and seemed to understand that he was being questioned as a suspect rather than a witness, a senior officer said.
After a short opening exchange Babis is said to have snapped and told investigators: ‘I killed her. I will tell you everything in detail.’
‘It really didn’t take long for him to confess,’ said a senior investigator. ‘He said he had been fighting with Caroline for some time and they were fighting that night, exchanging heated text messages while he was on the ground floor and she was in the attic.
‘At one point,’ he said, ‘when Caroline texted him that he was “stupid,” he lost his cool. He disabled the home’s surveillance camera, discarding its memory card, before charging up to the attic where he had another heated argument with Caroline, pushing her onto a bed there, and smothering her to death.’
Babis Anagnostopoulos arrives in court in Athens to be charged with the murder of his wife and their pet dog after police say he confessed
Babis is lead away from court having been charged with Caroline’s murder. He faces life in jail if found guilty
Police also claimed that they had first suspected Anagnostopoulos from the moment they laid eyes on him at the sham break-in scene.
George Kalliakmanis, president of police in Attica, said officers had compared Babis to a ‘Greek Oscar Pistorius’ – the South African athlete convicted of shooting dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at their home in 2013, despite proclaiming his innocence.
He told Greek news site Protothema that detectives had immediately noticed the ‘coldness’ of Babis, adding that one officer had even taken his baby daughter away from him at the scene to ‘protect’ the girl.
Upon investigating the house, Mr Kalliakmanis said officers quickly uncovered signs the burglary had been staged – saying that very few of the cupboards and wardrobes had been disturbed.
Typically, burglars will rip open every potential hiding place in search of valuables, Mr Kalliakmanis said.
But in this house, they appeared only to have searched in the places that Babis said valuables had been stored.
He added that officers had concealed their initial suspicions from Babis and pursued his burglary narrative to keep him calm, all the while believing the true suspect was much closer to home.