The family of murdered Caroline Crouch will get temporary custody of her 12-month-old daughter Lydia, a Greek judge ruled on Monday.
The judge said that the temporary custody is for a duration of 30 days, before a court decides on the permanent custody of the little girl in July.
He also ruled that the parents of Crouch’s husband, Babis Anagnostopoulos, should have access to Lydia during these 30 days.
The child, who is currently being looked after by the parents of Anagnostopoulos, was pictured on Greek television yesterday being cradled in the arms of his grandmother, Georgia Anagnostopoulos.
Her mother, a British national who had lived for years in Greece with her own parents, was murdered on May 11 by her husband, who confessed to the killing.
Lydia was in the home at the time of the killing, as was the family puppy Roxy, which Anagnostopoulos admitted to smothering and hanging from the stairwell of the apartment building.
After she was killed, a series of claims had been made by her husband, who concocted a scenario involving Albanian nationals who invaded their home, killed the family dog and tied up the husband and wife in a robbery attempt.
Crouch’s family demand exclusive custody of Lydia
Crouch’s family have asked for sole custody of the child, while the family of Anagnostopoulos has requested custody from the months of October to April, so Lydia can live with them in Athens, and proposed that for the rest of the year she live with Crouch’s family on the island of Alonissos.
The lawyer of the family of the victim said last week that the family will ask for sole custody in the court hearings.
Speaking to ANT1 TV, Thanasis Harmanis said that Crouch’s family is requesting sole custody of the child, although they are not going to exclude contacts with Anagnostopoulos’ family. The perpetrator’s parents also have a home on Alonissos, so they will be able to have contact as often as they want, he said.
He also conveyed a statement of the mother of the 20-year-old that read: “He (Anagnostopoulos) took my child from me; if I lose my granddaughter, it will be a deathblow.”
Anagnostopoulos led to jail
Last week Crouch’s husband was put on remand (pre-trial detention) following his confession. The prosecutor assigned to the case agreed with the lead investigator that the 33-year-old pilot should be held in state custody while he awaits trial.
Anagnostopoulos spent five hours speaking to a prosecutor and providing his testimony on the crime before his fate was decided upon.
He was then taken out of the courthouse — wearing a bulletproof vest — by a large police escort and was led into a police vehicle. From there, he was driven straight to Korydallos Prison, Greece’s largest — and certainly most infamous — jail.
Ever since the killing, which occurred on May 11, the child had been in the custody of her father or his family. After his murder confession, prosecutors were faced with the extraordinarily difficult question of where the child should be placed in order to be as safe as possible.
According to Article 1532 of the Civil Code of Greece, the prosecutor’s office has two options. Crouch’s baby may be temporarily assigned as the custody of either Crouch’s relatives in Alonissos or to Anagnostopoulos’ family.
Investigations to discover where the child will fare best in the long run have already begun. Social services are examining the living conditions the child would receive in both family homes in order to hopefully come to a conclusion of which one is more suitable for a minor.
However, Article 1532 of the Greek Civil Code also highlights that in extremely urgent cases, the prosecutor can take any and all measures to safeguard the interests and protection of the child, “until the court decision is issued, which must be addressed within 90 days, with the possibility extension of this deadline by an additional 90 days.”
Caroline Crouch diary portrays her life as a Greek tragedy
Caroline Crouch’s diary, which was obtained just after her death by the police, shows that her relationship with Anagnostopoulos, her husband and eventual killer, had been deeply troubled for years prior to her murder.
The Greek police prepared a 26-page transcript to present to prosecutors as evidence for Crouch’s murder which includes extended excerpts from her diary, and which were given to the media.
From dates recorded in Crouch’s diary, it seems the marriage between the 32-year-old Anagnostopoulos and the 20-year-old Crouch began to have serious problems in November of 2019.
In the diary, she divulged that she had suffered the loss of a child prior to her pregnancy with Lydia, and that this was taking an extreme emotional toll on her. She refers to fights and disagreements with her husband, which she attributes to her bad mental health and hormonal issues following the loss of her child.