"He was so cool, I have never met someone so calm before," said the second police officer who testified today in the trial of Babis Anagnostopoulos, who is accused of killing his 20-year-old wife Caroline Crouch.
Police officer Kleanthis Antonopoulos, who rushed to the scene of the violent crime on the night it happened, also described the theatrics of the accused, who told them that robbers were responsible for the murder of Caroline.
At the hearing, the witness police officer pointed out: "The reaction of the accused when the other police officer told him 'it's over' for his wife, was as if he did not understand what had happened.
"He told us 'why did they kill her after I gave them the money?' From the questions he asked us he understood that she was dead, but his reaction was as if the woman had not died.
"The first reaction was as if he did not understand, but then he understood, however his behaviour was strange.
"He was cool to the point where I could not believe it. I have never seen such calm, so calm, he had a peace that I have never seen before.
"Many authorities came and in all of them he repeated the story as if nothing had happened to him. If it had happened to me I would have said 'hey guys I have said it five times, how many times do I need to say it?'"
Antonopoulos said during his testimony that the fact that the accused told them that he recognised the weapon used by the supposed robbers.
"He told us that the robbers had guns and in fact he said that they had a gun like mine, which impressed us because a victim at that time usually does not notice the type of gun. We were also concerned about the window, the way the accused reacted, the blow to his forehead for which he replied that he had not been hit."
The prosecutor asked Antonopoulos if the accused reacted by seeing the dog on the handrail of the stairs being killed. According to the witness, there was no reaction from the accused.
For the first time in Greek legal history the defendant, who stands accused of pre-meditated murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice by lying to police, also faces the charge of killing an animal, under groundbreaking legislation passed last year.
The pilot allegedly admitted using a leash to hang Crouch’s seven-month-old puppy, Roxy, from the banister of the couple’s home in suburban Athens to make the break-in seem more realistic.
Investigators encountered the choked pet before finding Caroline’s body next to her crying daughter, Lydia, on the upper level of the maisonette.
Roxy, a stray dog adopted only months before the 11 May murder, has been assigned separate legal representation, paid for by an animal welfare group that has urged members to protest outside the court alongside women’s organisations enraged at the killing – one of 17 femicides in Greece last year.
For 37 days, Anagnostopoulos claimed his wife’s death was the result of a botched burglary, during which time he gave a heart-rending eulogy at her funeral on the island of Alonissos, where 20-year-old Crouch was raised.
It was only after eight hours of police questioning – following his arrest at her memorial – that investigators allege he confessed to the crime.
Police, who had encouraged the government to take the rare step of announcing a €300,000 reward for information that might lead to the assailants, said they had been fooled by a man they described as a “top-class actor”.
Anagnostopoulos, who is detained in Athens’ high-security Koyrdallos prison, has claimed, through his lawyers, that his wife’s “narcissistic and aggressive behaviour” were to blame for the fit of rage that prompted him to commit the crime.
But in a 24-page report, Giorgos Noulis, the public prosecutor assigned to the case, contended otherwise, saying the pilot was in a “calm state of mind” when he chose to kill the student.
“He had no inhibition to go through with the act despite the fact that she was the mother of his child,” the magistrate was quoted as saying in the report, excerpts of which appeared in the Greek press. “The victim was just 20 years old, while he was 13 years older and should have been her protector.”
The daughter of a retired oil executive who settled on Alonissos, Crouch had been asleep for more than two hours before her murder.
Investigators, piecing together the sequence of events based on a handwritten diary that spoke of an increasingly abusive relationship, believe she threatened the pilot with divorce during a heated altercation earlier that night.
Her death was depicted as “agonising” by a coroner, who estimated after examination of her body that asphyxiation “took five to six minutes”.