A Greek helicopter pilot who confessed to staging his wife’s murder last month as a botched home invasion told an Athens court this week that he regrets his actions.
Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33, wore a bulletproof vest and was trailed by a caravan of police as he arrived at an Athens courthouse Tuesday. He sat expressionless through trial proceedings, Sky News reported.
“I wish I could go back in time," he said in court, later adding, "I ruined my life, I ruined my family's life."
Anagnostopoulos provided roughly five hours of testimony as demonstrators from women’s rights organizations reportedly gathered outside to voice their outrage at the accused wife killer.
“To embrace the hands that took her daughter’s life, you can understand how painful and distressing that is for a mother to endure,” Athanasios Harmanis, an attorney representing Caroline Crouch’s family, Anagnostopoulos' deceased wife, said outside the courthouse, according to the Washington Post.
Some of Crouch’s immediate relatives opted not to attend the hearing, lawyers for the family said.
“For obvious reasons, her mother could not come,” the family’s attorneys added, according to Sky News. “You understand the position of the mother who hugged the hands that took her daughter's breath away. There should be consultation with the perpetrator's family."
On May 11, authorities found Crouch deceased at a home in the northeastern Athens’ neighborhood of Glyka Nera; she’d been choked and beaten. In an apparent attempt to cover up the crime, Anagnostopoulos placed the couple’s 11-month old daughter next to Crouch's lifeless corpse and strangled the family dog.
Anagnostopoulos initially claimed that at least three burglars had stormed their home, demanded cash, and gagged his wife on the night of her murder.
“Tell us where the money is, [or] we will kill the baby,” Anagnostopoulos claimed one phony burglar told him.
Crouch’s smartwatch provided investigators with data that negated this version of events, according to law enforcement.
"Everything was staged for the crime scene to look like the scene of a robbery," Athens homicide detective Costas Hassiotis, told the media last week.
Over a month later, Anagnostopoulos was officially charged with the murder of his British-Greek wife. He also faces charges for animal abuse and misleading investigators.
Anagnostopoulos is remorseful, according to his lawyer.
"It was a confessed act and it is a confessed act," his attorney told reporters.
The couple’s baby wasn’t injured in the incident, officials said. Anagnostopoulos' lawyer was adamant that his client “wanted to do everything in his power” to ensure the child has proper care; prosecutors are currently deciding what will happen with the young girl, according to the Washington Post.
Crouch’s loved ones have since filed a civil suit against Anagnostopoulos, who faces life in prison if found guilty. He’s currently being held at an Athens prison.