Parents of murdered British woman Caroline Crouch awarded custody of baby daughter

The parents of Caroline Crouch, the young British woman who was murdered by her Greek husband, have been granted temporary custody of her baby daughter.

A Greek court ruled on Monday that custody of the one-year-old girl, Lydia, will last a month, after which the court will decide on a more permanent arrangement.

Lydia will be sent to stay with her maternal grandparents, David and Susan Crouch, who live on the Aegean island of Alonissos, near the popular holiday destinations of Skopelos and Skiathos.

Ms Crouch, 20, was smothered to death last month in the home she shared with her baby daughter and husband, Babis Anagnostopoulos, a helicopter pilot and flight instructor.

Caroline Crouch and Charalambos (Babis) Anagnostopoulos on their wedding day in Praia Do Canavial, Portugal

Credit: Athena Pictures

He claimed for more than a month that a gang of armed robbers had broken into their house, tied him up, murdered his wife and strangled their pet dog.

But last week, as his story fell apart in the face of evidence presented by police, he confessed to the murder and was remanded in custody to an Athens prison. He has been charged with murder.

He justified his attempts to cover up the murder by saying he could not bear to see his daughter robbed of both her parents – one killed and the other sent to jail.

The court on Monday stripped him of any parental responsibility for baby Lydia.

Since the murder on May 11, she has been living with his parents in Athens, but she will be taken this week to Alonissos.

Helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopoulos enters a court in Athens after police said he confessed to the murder of Ms Crouch

Credit: Petros Giannakouris/AP

Ms Crouch’s parents had filed a request asking for exclusive custody of little Lydia.

Through their lawyer, Thanasis Harmanis, Ms Crouch’s grief-stricken mother said: "He took my child from me. If I lose my granddaughter, it will be a death blow."

Ms Crouch’s parents were waiting for the arrival of their granddaughter with "open arms", said Mr Harmanis. "The island will give her love."

The court ruled that the parents of Anagnostopoulos have the right to visit Alonissos and see their granddaughter.

Greek social services are weighing up the home environments of both sets of grandparents in order to decide whom to award permanent custody to.

The pilot’s parents had proposed that Lydia live six months of the year with them, from October to April, while she spend the summer months with Ms Crouch’s parents on Alonissos.

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