Murdered Caroline Crouch's diary of despair

Murdered Caroline Crouch’s diary of despair: They’re the haunting secrets the British bride in Athens poured out to her journal in code. Now, as her baby’s grandparents fight for custody, PAUL BRACCHI and SAM GREENHILL reveal the tantalising clues she left

They found Caroline Crouch’s diary at the bottom of a cupboard, concealed under several shoe boxes, after she was murdered at her Athens home.

‘The only person she could possibly have been hiding it from was her husband,’ a police officer told the Mail this week.

She had every reason for keeping it away from Charalambos Anagnostopoulos, the helicopter pilot she had married two years ago who has now confessed to killing his wife in a case that has gripped the country.

In fact, detectives believe that some of Caroline’s explosive journal entries, chronicling the brutal truth about their marriage, and written with different coloured ballpoint pens, was compiled in code — made up of Greek and English abbreviations — to prevent Anagnostopoulos reading the entire contents should he have found it.

They found Caroline Crouch’s diary at the bottom of a cupboard, concealed under several shoe boxes, after she was murdered at her Athens home. ‘The only person she could possibly have been hiding it from was her husband,’ a police officer told the Mail this week

The officer who spoke to us explained, for the first time, the significance of what they had deciphered. Two letters that crop up again and again are ‘DG’, next to the Greek symbol for gamma, he said, which is an expletive in Greek, the equivalent of our F-word.

They believe this stands for ‘F****** Dangerous Guy’.

There is frequent use of the initial ‘M’, which they are convinced is short for ‘Malakas’ or ‘W*****’ in English, as well as ‘MAM’, meaning ‘Malakas Antras Mou (‘My W***** Husband’).

‘XX’ also crops up in various sections which, it is suspected, is Caroline’s shorthand for ‘Xylo’ in Greek or ‘beating’ in English.

Caroline had every reason for keeping the diary away from Charalambos Anagnostopoulos, the helicopter pilot she had married (above) two years ago who has now confessed to killing his wife in a case that has gripped the country

Detectives believe that some of Caroline’s explosive journal entries, chronicling the brutal truth about their marriage, and written with different coloured ballpoint pens, was compiled in code — made up of Greek and English abbreviations — to prevent Anagnostopoulos reading the entire contents should he have found it. (Above, with their daughter, Lydia)

Officers have also interpreted the letters ‘PP’ as ‘Palio Poustis’ (‘Dirty Old Fa**ot’). Was this a reference to the fact that 33-year-old Anagnostopoulos and Caroline, his young British wife, who was only 19 when she died — not 20, as previously reported — was just a 16-year-old schoolgirl when they met in 2017?

We can reveal today that locals on the island of Alonissos, where Caroline grew up, remember him flying over the school in his helicopter to impress her and even following her in the air when she went on school trips.

Caroline was flattered at the time, as many impressionable teenage girls would have been, to have caught the eye of a dashing pilot.

But those diary entries suggest she had gradually come to realise that she was trapped in an abusive relationship that eventually culminated, everyone now knows, in the terrible events of May 11.

Anagnostopoulos staged a break-in at their villa in the affluent suburb of Glyka Nera in an elaborate plot to cover his tracks — accusing a gang of merciless foreign burglars of tying him up, killing Caroline in front of their baby daughter, Lydia, and stringing up their puppy, Roxy, from the stairwell.

Following his arrest last week, he finally admitted having smothered his wife with a pillow because, he told police, she had threatened to leave him and take one-year-old Lydia with her.

Caroline’s murder has resulted in a custody battle for baby Lydia between the two sets of grandparents. She is currently being looked after by the parents of Charalambos Anagnostopoulos, and was pictured on Greek TV yesterday being cradled in the arms of his mother, Georgia Anagnostopoulos (above)

Data from Caroline’s smartwatch has now shown that she was in an ‘extreme state of mental or physical stress for six minutes’, as well as showing that she did not die at the time Anagnostopoulos had originally claimed.

In other words, it could have taken six minutes for her to die.

Her murder has resulted in a custody battle for baby Lydia between the two sets of grandparents.

She is currently being looked after by the parents of Charalambos Anagnostopoulos, and was pictured on Greek TV yesterday being cradled in the arms of his mother, Georgia Anagnostopoulos.

The teacher, and her husband, who live in the Greek capital, are happy to share their granddaughter’s upbringing.

But Caroline’s parents, David and Susan, who live on the island of Alonissos, want sole custody of the baby. This is the sad legacy of Caroline’s murder.

Few could have guessed the grim reality of her outwardly idyllic married life which was laid bare in her diary. Details of what Caroline wrote in ‘code’ have gone unreported until today.

Caroline described the rows she and her husband were having in an entry as early as November 15, 2019 — just four months after they had married on a beach on the Algarve as the sun went down.

Pictures of their wedding day show the couple, with Caroline in a flowing white bridal gown, gazing into each other’s eyes and strolling hand-in-hand along the water’s edge near the Portuguese resort of Lagos, where they stayed in a rented apartment.

Surely this couldn’t be the same two people who, not long after their honeymoon, were involved in an ugly domestic clash in which the bridegroom ended up breaking a door at their home in Athens?

‘I love him so much that I can’t leave him, even if this relationship is harming me,’ is how Caroline summed up her predicament in her secret diary at the time.

Certainly, the only two people who were at their intimate wedding — photographers Maria Eero and Sandy Lunitz — find it almost impossible to believe the bride is now dead and the groom killed her.

The photographers spent the day with the couple and went back to their flat to cut the wedding cake. The following day they organised a photoshoot on a boat for Caroline and Anagnostopoulos.

‘We remember them very well,’ Miss Eero said. ‘She was extremely excited, and he was very caring towards her.’

They sent an email to Anagnostopoulos, known as Babis, to express their condolences for his loss after reading about Caroline’s murder in the papers.

‘He replied very quickly to thank us for our kind words, and wished us happiness for the future,’ Mr Lunitz recalled.

‘Then he confessed. We were heartbroken. We still are. It’s beyond our imagination. Something inside of me still doesn’t want to believe it.’

There is a cruel irony to these terrible events which has aroused national anger in Greece in the same way as the Sarah Everard killing did here in Britain.

Friends of Caroline, who held a British passport, have portrayed Anagnostopoulos as a jealous and controlling husband.

But despite her growing resentment towards him — which is evident from the words in her diary — she resisted the temptation of painting herself as the perfect wife. Instead, she blamed her hormones for some of their violent rows, in which she admitted hitting her husband, and said that she felt ’embarrassed’ that they affected her so strongly.

Friends of Caroline, who held a British passport, have portrayed Anagnostopoulos (outside court in Athens on June 22) as a jealous and controlling husband

Prosecutors fear his lawyers will use her honesty at his trial to argue that Anagnostopoulos, who trained as a helicopter pilot in the UK, was driven to kill Caroline in a fit of rage because her behaviour was ‘challenging’; that it was a crime of passion committed in the heat of the moment, not premeditated cold-blooded murder, which carries a life sentence.

It is a defence that is already being played out with Anagnostopoulos claiming, when he appeared in court this week, that a miscarriage his wife suffered before having Lydia had changed her personality and made her aggressive, which led to the fatal row during which he lost his temper.

Given the 14-year age difference, some may say he and Caroline should never have got together — at least not when she was still at school. So how did they?

It was three years ago, at a candle-lit procession on Alonissos to celebrate Good Friday, that the then 30-year-old Anagnostopoulos, whose parents have a second home on the island, approached 16-year-old Caroline, residents recalled, and began talking to her.

They remember what happened next only too well.

Anagnostopoulos, a pilot with a helicopter charter service in Athens, would fly to Alonissos just to see Caroline, they said.

Sometimes when she had a break or was on a school excursion, his helicopter would appear in the sky, and he would watch her from the cockpit, which made ‘other girls in her class very jealous’.

The relationship that ensued was legal — but barely. The age of consent in Greece is 15, but the minimum age for marriage is 18.

At 17, Caroline found herself pregnant with his child but she suffered a miscarriage.

The following year they wed on that beach in the Algarve, three days after Caroline celebrated her 18th birthday and the law allowed them to exchange marriage vows. Baby Lydia arrived in June 2020 after her parents had begun married life together at their new home in the Athens suburb of Glyka Nera, where they had moved shortly before the wedding.

In his testimony, Anagnostopoulos says that the change in Caroline after her miscarriage meant she presented a risk to their daughter. Neighbours have poured scorn on this.

‘Caroline’s child was everything to her,’ said one woman who lived in the same street.

‘It cannot even be imagined that she would hurt her, as her husband is claiming. She would never raise a hand to her baby. As a mother, she was flawless.’

The woman’s husband added: ‘Caroline used to spend all day at home with her baby. She avoided talking about her relationship with Babis. I cannot say anything more, but what I really want you to understand is that she was a perfect mother.’

Others remember her ‘always cuddling her baby, little Lydia’.

Caroline’s father, David Crouch, 78, a retired gas executive who was born in Liverpool, spoke movingly about ‘my wonderful daughter’ in an interview with the Mail this week.

He spoke to us again on Thursday, when he said the police had told him that the investigation was at an early stage and that they had ‘a long way to go’ before they found the ‘true motive’ for Caroline’s murder.

‘The only commitment they were prepared to make was they were looking at motives other than jealousy and possessiveness,’ Mr Crouch said.

‘They gave me no indication as to what direction their investigation was heading.’

But speculation and rumours about possible motives, other than the one Anagnostopoulos is sticking to, are rife in Greece.

Angeliki Nikolouli, a respected Greek crime journalist who has high-level connections within the police, claims sources told her ‘something had shocked Caroline before she was killed’.

She said: ‘Had she seen anything that she shouldn’t have? My source is very significant, but I have to respect them and not tell more. However, something had shocked the girl.’

Some Greek helicopter pilots, who fly all over the archipelago, have been known in the past to make extra cash by transporting drugs for the cartels.

Asked about these rumours of drug-running or a suggestion that Anagnostopoulos was having an affair, his lawyer Alexandros Papaioannidis insisted: ‘No one takes this seriously. He has not been charged with any of these possibilities at all. His defence is simply that this happened in the heat of the moment. There are no other reasons.’

Then again, his client is a man who made up a cock-and-bull story about being tied up by a gang of sociopathic foreign criminals who invaded his home, robbed him and killed his young wife.

Detectives are only half-way through Caroline’s diary. If Charalambos Anagnostopoulos did have another motive, might it yet be found in there?

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