The beloved cats of a young British woman killed by her Greek pilot husband were left so traumatised that they had to receive specialist counselling from an animal psychologist, MailOnline can reveal.
Four cats belonging to Caroline Crouch, 20 were in her Athens home on the night she was attacked by Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33 last May.
After committing the crime, he spun an elaborate lie about how she had been killed in a botched burglary and as part of his attempt to stage a convincing crime scene, he also killed Caroline’s pet dog Roxy.
Anagnostopoulos is currently on trial for Caroline’s murder but while the court has heard graphic details about her and Roxy’s killing little has been known until now about the cats she doted on.
The pilot also faces a separate charge for murdering the dog and two counts of perverting the course of justice.
Following Caroline’s killing, the cats were adopted by her neighbour and friend Lila Gerolymatou, 48 who told MailOnline of the emotional distress they suffered and the effort it took to help them recover.
Caroline Crouch with the husband accused of murdering her, Babis Anagnostopoulos, and trying to cover it up as a burglary gone wrong
Four cats belonging to Caroline Crouch, 20 were in her Athens home on the night she was attacked by Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33 last May
After committing the crime, he spun an elaborate lie about how she had been killed in a botched burglary and as part of his attempt to stage a convincing crime scene, he also killed Caroline’s pet dog Roxy
Coco and Batida
Pictured: Dusty. Anagnostopoulos is currently on trial for Caroline’s murder but while the court has heard graphic details about her and Roxy’s killing little has been known until now about the cats she doted on.
The cats were adopted by her neighbour and friend Lila Gerolymatou, 48, (pictured) who told MailOnline of the emotional distress they suffered and the effort it took to help them recover
After taking the cats in, Ms Gerolymatou revealed that as she became so concerned over their behaviour that she turned to an animal psychologist for help
She said: ‘I adopted the cats because they remind me of my beautiful friend Caroline, who was a very special person. They are a part of her that is still in my life and this gives me some comfort. It was very difficult for the cats because they were very attached to her and sensed that something bad had taken place.
‘For many months after the murder they could not sleep or eat and were very agitated and nervous. Cats in general are very sensitive creatures and it has been a long process to get Caroline’s pets back to normal. I know this may sound strange, but I’m sure they still miss her and think of her as we all do.’
Caroline’s cats are called Dusty, a male aged four and three female cats; Whisky, 4; Batida, two and Coco, 2. All were once strays that were found and adopted by her.
On the night of the killings, Whisky took refuge in a wardrobe and was found trembling inside it five days after the killings by Ms Gerolymatou.
The other cats all escaped through a basement window, which Anagnostopoulos had deliberately broken to make it appear that this was how the burglars had entered.
The devastated trio of cats were missing for 24 hours until they turned up crying outside Ms Gerolymatou’s home which is immediately next door to where Caroline and her husband lived.
Greek helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopoulos arrives at an Athens court escorted by armed police officers on Wednesday
A psychiatrist has told a court in Athens where a Greek helicopter pilot (pictured arriving in court on Tuesday) is on trial for killing his young British-born wife that the defendant exhibits signs of both narcissistic and anti-social personality disorders
After suffocating Caroline as she slept, Anagnostopoulos then smothered puppy Roxy (pictured) and hanged the pup’s lifeless body on the banister of their first floor flat in Athens. Anagnostopoulos is also being charged with the felony of killing a healthy animal – something made possible following a new law introduced last year that forbids their unlawful killing
After taking the cats in, Ms Gerolymatou revealed that as she became so concerned over their behaviour that she turned to an animal psychologist for help.
She said: ‘We worked very hard on the cat’s emotional rehabilitation. This included putting them in a room with a ticking clock, which helped to calm them down.
‘I was also instructed to put the cats on my chest, so that they could feel my heartbeat to help reassure them. I slept with all four cats and both myself and the psychologist regularly spoke and stroked them in a tender way so that they felt loved.’
She added: ‘All of these techniques helped the cats to overcome their trauma. It is only with professional help that they are behaving like normal cats again.’
Ms Gerolymatou revealed that Caroline’s favourite cat was Whisky, who she found on the island of Alonnisos where she was raised. After moving to Athens to live with Anagnostopoulos she brought the moggy with her.
Recalling the night of Caroline’s killing, Ms Gerolymatou shuddered as she described how she heard Roxy’s choked barking, which she thought was because he was fighting with the cats.
The first sight that greeted police when they entered the couple’s house was Roxy’s torso hanging from the bannister.
Ms Gerolymatou sobbed: ‘I was sleeping in my living room and could hear Roxy through the walls. I never imagined that he was slowly choking to death because Babis had hung him.
‘It breaks my heart to think of how he and Caroline suffered. I have no words for what Babis has done. I thought of him as a good friend and neighbour and liked Caroline from the moment I laid eyes on her. She had a beautiful energy about her and was a very kind and caring woman.’
Ms Gerolymatou and Caroline formed a strong bond based on their shared love of animals and their work feeding and rehoming stray cats in the area where they lived.
Caroline (left), Anagnostopoulos (right) and their baby daughter pose for a snap in May 2021
British national Caroline Crouch, 20, was strangled to death by helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopolous, 33 (pictured)
She cried: ‘I miss Caroline a lot. The trial has been very difficult for us all and that includes her cats. She was totally devoted to them and they adored her. I’m happy that I’ve given them a good home.’
Anagnostopoulos faces possible life imprisonment if found guilty of pre-meditated murder but he maintains that it was an ‘impulsive crime of passion’ caused by her behaviour, which would lead to a lesser sentence.
Giving evidence for more than ten hours on Wednesday, he told the court that he suffocated Caroline with a pillow because she refused to apologise after a row when their baby Lydia nearly fell from a couch.
He said: ‘I could tell she was dead because her eyes were open. I started crying, pulling my hair, moving back and forth across the room.’
Anagnostopoulos revealed that he concocted the story of a botched burglary almost immediately because he did not want to go to jail and was afraid that Lydia would lose both her parents.
He said: ‘I didn’t want to come into contact with Caroline’s dead body. I didn’t want to cover it up. I’m not a psychopath.
‘My first thought was to make it look like someone else did it.’
A verdict in the case is expected next Monday.