Caroline Crouch's parents say murdered Brit's daughter 'will get love'06/30/2021
Murdered Briton Caroline Crouch’s parents promise her baby daughter ‘will receive all the love that she needs and more’ after she arrives at their home following custody battle
- Caroline Crouch’s daughter Lydia has been taken to her maternal grandparents
- Susan Dela Cuesta and David Crouch said she will ‘receive all the love she needs’
- One-year-old Lydia was described as an ‘oasis of joy in the desert of their sorrow’
- Lydia had been living with the parents of her father, Babis Anagnostopoulos, 33
This is the moment the baby daughter of murdered Briton Caroline Crouch arrived to live with her maternal grandparents, which has been movingly described as an ‘oasis of joy in the desert of their sorrow’.
One-year-old Lydia was fast asleep as she was carried out of a silver car in a baby seat by a family friend of her grandparents, Susan and David Crouch, and taken into their home on the picturesque island of Alonnisos. She will stay with them until a permanent decision is made on her future.
Around an hour later, Susan was seen gently cradling Lydia in her arms as she stood on the veranda of her home, while friends and neighbours visited regularly throughout the day to lend their support, vowing to ’embrace’ the youngster as one of their own.
Susan and David Crouch, 78, have been given temporary custody by a Greek court of Lydia while her father, Charalambos ‘Babis’ Anagnostopoulos, languishes in prison after confessing to murdering her mother Caroline.
This is the touching moment the daughter of murdered British mother Caroline Crouch arrived to live at the home of her maternal grandparents. Pictured: Caroline’s mother with Lydia
Caroline Crouch’s mother Susan is pictured with the family lawyer Athanasios Harmanis on her journey to collect Lydia from mainland Greece
After suffocating Caroline at their Athens home on 11 May, Anagnostopoulos placed Lydia beside Caroline’s dead body as part of his elaborate hoax that she had been killed in a botched burglary.
Lydia arrived at Susan and David’s home late on Tuesday. Until then she had been staying with Anagnostopoulos’s parents; his father, Constantinos and mother Georgia at their Athens home.
After arriving at Susan and David’s Alonnisos home, their lawyer Athanasios Harmanis said: ‘For Caroline’s parents, little Lydia will be an oasis of joy in the desert of their sorrow.
‘Caroline’s parents, and especially her mum Susan will be occupied with looking after the child and this will help her mind not to constantly think over and over again about the tragic events that have taken place.’
He added: ‘Caroline’s parents want Anagnostopoulos to receive an exemplary punishment. They want him to stay in prison for as long as possible. But at the same time, they want her to have a relationship with his parents, who will be free to visit as much as they like.
‘This child will receive all the love that it needs and more.’
Susan was seen gently cradling Lydia in her arms as she stood on the veranda of her home, while friends and neighbours visited regularly throughout the day
Susan and David Crouch were given temporary custody of Lydia after her father, Charalambos ‘Babis’ Anagnostopoulos, confessed to murdering her mother Caroline (pictured)
Members of the media have now been ordered to stay away from Susan and David’s home so that they can take Lydia out for walks and be allowed to live a normal life with the toddler.
Lydia was handed over to Susan by her paternal grandmother Georgia on Tuesday morning at a secret location on the Greek mainland.
According to reports, it was described as ‘highly emotional’ as both grandmothers wept. Georgia also spent considerable time explaining to Susan Lydia’s care needs such as her feeding time and health issues she has suffered from since birth.
As Lydia begins her new life on Alonnisos, where Caroline spent most of her’s, friends of Susan and David vowed to rally around the youngster so that she can have a normal an up brining as possible.
Local resident Harikleia Theodorou, a close friend of Susan said on a Greek TV channel: ‘Alonnisos will embrace Lydia. Everyone stands by Caroline’s parents and we will make sure that Lydia has the same happy childhood that her mother did.’
She added: ‘The child will be reborn in Alonnisos.’
Meanwhile, in response to a set of questions given to him by Greek media, Anagnostopoulos said: ‘I’m happy with the custody decision because I know Caroline’s mother loves Lydia very much and will raise her properly on Alonnisos.’
A final decision on Lydia’s future is expected in September with the Crouch family lawyer confident that Susan and David will be given permanent custody.
It comes after Athanasios Harmanis, the lawyer for the Crouch family, said yesterday that Susan would be able to see Caroline again ‘in the eyes’ of Lydia.
After accompanying Susan to collect Lydia, he said: ‘Both Susan and David are delighted that Lydia will be with them.
After suffocating Caroline on 11 May, Anagnostopoulos (pictured) put Lydia beside Caroline’s dead body as part of his elaborate hoax that she had been killed in a botched burglary
‘For Susan, when she looks into Lydia’s eyes, she will see Caroline, and this will bring her and David a lot of comfort and some joy to their immense suffering.’
Mr Harmanis revealed that the last time Susan and David saw Lydia in person was in September 2020, when she visited Alonnoisis with Caroline and Anagnostopoulos for a holiday.
Since then, they have not been able to see her in person because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that Susan would ensure that Anagnostopoulos’s parents could continue visiting Lydia, because ‘the more love she gets the better’.
Under a court order, they have been given the right to visit five days a month between 10am and 2pm in Alonnisos but Mr Harmanis revealed that they would be able to come more often than this.
He said: ‘We said from the start that the perpetrators parents have a house in Alonnisos and will be able to see the child as much as they want. If they want to see here, they will have an open door… The more love the child gets, the better.’
Mr Harmanis added: ‘Caroline’s parents will consult experts to help raise the little girl given the trauma she’s suffered. They are prepared for this responsibility.
‘Susan is a young, strong and very good person.’
The youngster will live on the Aegean Sea island of Alonissos with Caroline’s parents Susan and David, 78, a retired gas executive who was born in Liverpool.
It is also the island where Caroline spent most of her life and where she met Anagnostopoulos while she was still a teenager.
Lydia was handed over to Susan by her paternal grandmother Georgia on Tuesday at a secret location on the Greek mainland. Pictured: Caroline and Anagnostopoulos with daughter Lydia
Lydia will live in Susan and David’s retirement home on the island, where they will be helped by domestic staff and friends to raise her.
Harmanis said being brought up on the island rather than in Athens will shield Lydia from being known as the ‘child of the murderer’.
He told The Sun: ‘In Alonissos she would be the daughter of Caroline whose life was unjustly cut short.’
Pictures and video footage from around 9am yesterday showed Anagnostopoulos’s mother Georgia holding Lydia as she took her to be with her maternal grandparents.
She was gently placed into a car and then taken to a secret location, where according to reports she was handed over to Caroline’s mother, Susan, away from the media.
Footage broadcast on Greek television later showed a white car with Susan inside it boarding a ferry from Alonnisos to mainland Greece on her way to collect Lydia.
Earlier this week, a Greek court ruled that they should be granted temporary custody of the child and all legal responsibility for her was removed from Anagnostopoulos, who is not expected to face trial for another 18 months.
He had wanted custody of Lydia to be shared between the two families.
Pictures and video footage from around 9am yesterday showed Anagnostopoulos’s mother Georgia holding Lydia as she took her to be with her maternal grandparents
A final decision on Lydia’s future is to be made within the next two months with Greek courts likely to award permanent custody of her to Susan and David.
The custody battle comes after Anagnostopoulos confessed that he killed his wife Caroline before staging an elaborate hoax to make it appear that she had been killed in a botched burglary.
He had previously spent weeks of falsely playing the role of a grieving husband and surrounding himself with Ms Crouch’s family and devastated parents.
While David has now spoken out a number of times about Caroline’s killing, Susan has remained tight lipped.
The only insight into her heartbreak is contained in a police statement on May 13, two days after Caroline’s killing when she was not aware that Anagnostopoulos was the perpetrator.
In the statement, seen by MailOnline, Susan recalled Caroline’s idyllic upbringing on the picture postcard island of Alonnisos, where she enjoyed diving, acting and was considered a model student.
She stated: ‘Caroline’s childhood years were in Alonnisos. ‘This is where she went to school, where she made friends and where she met Babis, whom she later got married to.
‘Caroline was a very good child, an excellent student and she took part in all kinds of activities. She was holding her school’s flag for Greece’s national day, she went to the scouts, she went diving and she loved acting and doing a lot more activities.’
As Lydia begins her new life on Alonnisos, friends of Susan (pictured at Caroline’s funeral) and David vowed to rally around Lydia so that she can have a normal an up brining as possible
She tells police that she moved to the island with David and Caroline so that they could have a more ‘beautiful life’.
She added that the last time she spoke with Caroline was on the night of 10 May when her daughter had called her to see if she was suffering from any side effects from the coronavirus vaccine.
Just hours later Caroline was found brutally murdered in the early hours of 11 May.
Susan recalled: ‘The last time we talked on the phone, on Monday evening, it was the day I had taken the coronavirus vaccine and she called to see how I was doing. She didn’t seem to be preoccupied with anything. We said goodnight and hung up.’
She also revealed in her statement how she came to know that Caroline had been murdered after some friends arrived at her house to tell her what had happened.
She added: ‘I made some phone calls myself and that’s how I got to know about what had happened.’
Referring to the horrific events that led to Caroline’s death, Susan stated: ‘What happened in the house I don’t know, and I don’t want to know about it because it hurts too much.
‘Thank God Lydia is all right.’
Meanwhile, grieving father David has said he wanted to ‘blow the head off’ Caroline’s killer husband Anagnostopoulos.
Anagnostopoulos (pictured) confessed that he killed his wife Caroline after spending weeks of falsely playing the role of a grieving husband and surrounding himself with Ms Crouch’s family
David, 78, revealed that his grief rapidly turned to fury after he found out police had taken Anagnostopoulos from her memorial service to confront him with evidence proving he was the killer.
‘When I found out later, my one regret was that I hadn’t known when he was here,’ he told The Sun.
‘I would have blown his f***ing lying head right off his shoulders and willingly taken the consequences.’
David said he and wife Susan learned of Caroline’s May 11 death from neighbours on Greek island Alonissos.
He said: ‘I’ll never forget how I felt. It was as if an icy hand had reached inside my chest and gripped my heart. It was the worst day of my life.’
He said he believed there was ‘some foundation’ to rumours in the Greek press that the killer pilot was also linked to drug smuggling.
He said Caroline had a strong ‘sense of right and wrong’ and would have threatened to leave him had she found out he was involved.
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