Flight instructor Sotiris Papanikolas (right) said the story of his traumatic burglary was used as a cover by his flight student, a man accused of murdering his wife
A Greek helicopter pilot who made up an elaborate story that his wife had died in a botched burglary copied details of an actual robbery that actually took place at his flight instructor’s home, MailOnline can reveal.
Babis Anagnostopoulos ‘stole’ Sotiris Papanikolas’ story after he was broken into in July 2018 and shared details about it with him.
The two worked together at an airline in Athens, where Mr. Papanikolas was Anagnostopoulos’ helicopter supervisor and also helped train him.
In an exclusive conversation with MailOnline, Mr. Papanikolas called Anagnostopoulos a “heartless shame” for using his burglary to cover up his crimes.
He was furious: ‘Babis is a heartless disgrace and should be ashamed of stealing my story. I feel very hurt and offended by what he did because he used it to justify his crime.
“He should be convicted of what he did and rot in prison for life.”
He added: “When I heard Babis talking about the break-in at his home, I immediately called the police because of the similarities to my story. I told them he uses the same data as my break-in and that made me very suspicious.’
Papanikolas, 74, and his wife Irene have been broken into at their seaside home in Alepochori, just outside Athens.
Babis Anagnostopoulos’ flight instructor, Sotiris Papanikolas (right) is pictured. Anagnostopoulos ‘stole’ the story of Papanikolas’ horrible burglary in 2018 after confiding in him during their time flying together
Details he shared with police and colleagues were remarkably similar to Anagnostopoulos’s when he claimed a gang of burglars stormed his home last May, killing his wife Caroline Crouch, 19, and her dog Roxy.
Anagnostopoulos is currently on trial for the two murders and two charges of perverting the course of justice.
Mr Papanikolas said that as soon as he heard Anagnostopoulos’ report of the “break-in”, he immediately called the police to inform them of his suspicions.
He said: ‘When I heard Babis talking about the break-in at his home, I immediately called the police because of the similarities to my story. I told them he uses the same data as my break-in and that made me very suspicious.’
In the burglary of Mr Papanikolas’ house, he was tied up and beaten, while his wife was also attacked and left for dead along with their dog.
Caroline Crouch (pictured) was killed in Athens. In Babis Anagnostopoulos’ (judge) version of events, he was tied up by the criminals, a story he allegedly stole from his instructor
Papanikolas claimed that the burglary gang leader’s mask had slipped off, exposing his face and that they spoke Albanian.
The robbers also made off with money and jewelry after breaking into the property through a side window.
Anagnostopoulos delivered an almost identical version of events. In addition to Caroline and Roxy being murdered, he claimed to have seen the face of the burglars’ leader after his mask slipped and that he had been tied up and beaten; that money and jewelry were stolen after thieves entered through a side window; and that the gang spoke Albanian.
Like Mr Papanikolas, he also claimed that he passed out during the attack.
A statement from Mr. Papanikolas has been filed with the court as part of the case against Anagnostopoulos.
Papanikolas said: ‘I have not followed his case because I have no interest in Babis and have not seen him since his arrest. But if I’m called to court, I’ll tell them what happened to me and the way he used this to lie to everyone.”
After his arrest, Anagnostopoulos was asked by detectives if he was aware of the break-in at Mr Papanikolas’ home, but he denied all knowledge of it.
Papanikolas accused Anagnostopoulos of lying and insisted that he was aware of the incident.
He added: ‘The robbery on me and my wife was brutal, and my wife spent many days in the hospital because of the way she was beaten up. At first we didn’t even know if she would survive.
‘That’s why there was a lot of talk about it at the company I worked for. I talked about this incident with many of my colleagues and of course talked a lot about it with Babis, with whom we all had a special bond.’
The photo shows the home of Babis Anagnostopoulos’ trainer, which was broken into in 2018 and his wife was left for dead. She was hospitalized for nearly a month after the break-in while he was being treated for serious head injuries.
Their dog (pictured) was also attacked, but he is completely healthy again. They thought about selling the house after the break-in, but decided to stay. The perpetrators were never caught
Thinking back to his time as an Anagnostopoulos helicopter trainer and supervisor, he said, “I liked Babis. He was a very good pilot and a shy, nice man.
“I never thought he would do such a thing. I didn’t know his wife or his family because our relationship was a professional one.’
Mr Papanikolas’ wife, Irene, was hospitalized for nearly a month after the break-in while being treated for serious head injuries. The perpetrators were never caught by the police.
He said: ‘After the burglary, we considered selling our house, but we chose to stay because we also have a place in Athens where we spend a lot of time. We have both recovered well, our dog is back to full health as well, but Babis’ case has brought back some painful memories for us.
“It still shocks me that he could have killed his wife and her dog the way he did and was so cold-blooded that he used my story to lie for so long.”
On the first full day of the trial before the Mixed Jury Court in Athens, when a number of witnesses testified, Anagnostopoulos told the court when the charges were brought against him: “My love for my wife has not changed since the time I met her and will never change.
Betrayed, the flight instructor said, “Babis is a heartless disgrace and should be ashamed of stealing my story. I feel very hurt and offended by what he did because he used it to justify his crime.”
“I never intended to hurt my wife. I loved her and will continue to do so.”
Police officer Christos Vardikos revealed during a dramatic testimony how, after entering the couple’s home and going to an upstairs bedroom, he saw Caroline lying on a tied-up bed with her baby Lydia lying next to her, touching her body and standing still. stared.
The officer told the court that Anagnostopoulos was sitting in a chair next to the bed with his hands tied in front of him and duct tape over his eyes and mouth.
He added: ‘The woman also had her arms tied behind her back with a piece of clothing. I untied her first and took the baby on top of her.
“As soon as the defendant was released, he sat down on the bed first, prodded the woman and asked, ‘Honey, are you okay?’
“We told him it’s over, she’s dead. We could tell she was dead because she was all white and fluid had come out of the lower part of her body. In a chair next to her, the suspect’s legs and hands were tied at the front of his body. The baby was on his knees, his arms resting on his mother’s body. The baby was calm and quiet.’