A young British woman was strangled to death in front of her baby daughter while her husband was tied up in another room in their home in Athens.
The horrific killing of 20-year-old Caroline Crouch in front of her 11-month-old daughter is highly unusual in Greece and has shocked the country.
A special police task force has been ordered to investigate the murder, with a manhunt currently underway to identify the attackers.
The student was murdered by a gang of three burglars who ransacked the family’s apartment in the suburb of Glyka Nera in the Greek capital.
Police said the robbery took place at around 4am on Tuesday, when Ms Crouch, who was British-Filipino but born in Greece, was sleeping with her baby.
They reportedly pointed a gun at the child while demanding to know where cash and valuables were kept.
They also killed the family’s pet dog and tied Ms Crouch’s husband, Charalambos Anagnostopoulos, 32, a helicopter pilot, to a chair in another room.
The raiders then reportedly strangled Ms Crouch with her own blouse in order to stop her from screaming for help.
Mr Anagnostopoulos eventually managed to free himself and found his baby daughter crying beside the lifeless body of his wife.
“The assassination is a heinous crime conducted with unforeseen savagery”, said Kleanthis Papagiannopoulos, a spokesperson for the Greek police. “Such brutality is rare for our country”.
According to the husband’s testimony, the three men spoke in broken Greek and managed to steal about €15,000 euros in cash and the couple’s jewellery.
Neighbours claimed that a suspicious car was seen patrolling the area around the house over the last few weeks.
A special police task force is checking CCTV footage in the neighbourhood to see if they can identify the attackers and track their movements.
Police said it was probable that the gang had kept Ms Crouch and her husband under observation for some time before carrying out the robbery.
The Greek government on Tuesday offered a reward of €300,000 to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to the arrest of the gang.
Ms Crouch was born on the island of Alonissos in 2001 to a British father and Filipina mother and married her pilot husband in 2017.
Her hobbies included kickboxing and diving. She had lived in Glyka Nera since 2019 and was a student at the University of Piraeus.
The mayor of Alonissos, Petros Vafinis, told Greek television that islanders were shocked by the murder. “She was a sweet creature, a wonderful young girl, full of energy, who was active in many events on the island”.
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