Mother tortured, killed in front of her baby in home invasion

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Wed, 12 May 2021, 2:16PM
Caroline Crouch and her husband Charalambos Anagnostopoulos pose with their child in a photo posted to social media. (Photo / Instagram)
Caroline Crouch and her husband Charalambos Anagnostopoulos pose with their child in a photo posted to social media. (Photo / Instagram)

Mother tortured, killed in front of her baby in home invasion

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Wed, 12 May 2021, 2:16PM

Warning: Distressing content

A young mother was tied up as armed criminals pointed guns at her 11-month-old baby, before she was tortured and killed in front of the child.

British woman Caroline Crouch was killed at her home in Athens, Greece, by robbers who tied up her husband and forced him to listen helplessly.

The assailants, who seemed to have knowledge of the couple's movements, attacked in the early hours of Tuesday morning in search of $50,000 worth of cash and jewels stored at the home.

The husband, 32-year-old helicopter pilot Charalambos Anagnostopoulos, survived alongside the couple's infant daughter - who was found screaming next to her mother's body.

While one man stood guard outside, three armed men broke into the home, destroying a CCTV camera and hanging the family's dog by its leash to secure entry.

Anagnostopoulos said that, after a struggle, he was tied to a chair and gagged, Greek website Proto Thema reported.

The men then headed upstairs where Crouch was sheltering with her daughter.

"When I managed to break free, I rushed upstairs to the attic to find my wife on the floor facing down, and the baby next to her wailing," he told police.

Another Greek news outlet, Ta Nea, reported that Anagnostopoulos heard the men threaten his daughter and they demanded his wife reveal the location of the loot.

"Tell us where the money is, [or] we will kill the baby," the men reportedly said.

"They tied her up and tortured her, until she told them where the valuables were," a senior investigator in Athens told The Times.

Police said that the men eventually strangled the mum to silence her as she pleaded for her child's life.

A distraught Anagnostopoulos returned to the property later that day to pick up some belongings and made a brief statement to waiting media.

"They will be caught. The police know how to do their job. We asked them not to hurt us.

"What I and my family and my wife's family went through, let no one go through it again," he said, according to Proto Thema.

Residents of the Greek island of Sporades, where Crouch grew up, said the robbers would have struggled to subdue the young mum, who was a proficient kickboxer.

"We are talking about a strong girl that you did not easily put down, so we are sure that somehow she must have resisted, that is why the perpetrators chose to kill her," one local told Proto Thema.

The brutal crime has shocked Greece, despite the nation's sad familiarity with gangland murders.

"We've seen several other ugly murders throughout the years. But this was extremely brutal and violent," police spokesman Theodoros Chronopoulos said.

The Greek government has issued a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the gang responsible for what the minister for public order, Michalis Chrisochoidis, called a "particularly heinous" crime.

"One rarely encounters such barbarity in Greece, in Greek society, even among criminals," Chrisochoidis said.