Greek helicopter pilot appears in court over wife’s killing

National/World

Babis Anagnostopoulos, center, escorted by police officers arrives to the prosecutor’s office at a court, in Athens, Tuesday, June 22, 2021. The 33-year-old helicopter pilot and flight instructor Babis Anagnostopoulos has been detained as a suspect in the murder of his British wife Caroline Crouch, 20, outside Athens last month after publicly claiming she’d been killed during a brutal invasion of the couple’s home, police said. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greek helicopter pilot is appearing in court in Athens on charges of premeditated murder over the death of his young wife, who authorities say he confessed to killing after claiming for more than a month that the woman had died during a brutal home robbery.

Pilot and flight instructor Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33, arrived in court Tuesday in Athens wearing a bulletproof vest and under heavy police guard. He is accused of killing Caroline Crouch, 20, who died of suffocation on May 11 at the couple’s home on the outskirts of Athens.

The pilot had publicly claimed that armed robbers broke into their home at night, tying up and gagging him and his wife in their bedroom while their nearly one-year-old daughter slept. He had said the men stole cash before escaping.

Their baby was unharmed, but authorities said the family dog was found choked to death with its own leash.

The account shocked the nation and prompted authorities to announce a 300,000 euro ($365,000) reward for information about the crime.

Police investigators said analysis of data from a smartwatch worn by Crouch had helped reveal inconsistencies in the pilot’s account of events.

Anagnostopoulos has been charged with felony counts of premeditated murder and animal abuse, and misdemeanor counts of providing false testimony and filing a false police report about the robbery.

If convicted on all counts, he would face a life sentence.

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