The baby daughter of a young British woman who was murdered during a violent robbery in Greece was found crying and tapping her mother’s body in an attempt to wake her up.
Police who were called to the scene of the crime in Athens found the 11-month-old baby girl “patting her mother with her hands and trying to wake her up,” according to Ta Nea, a Greek newspaper.
Caroline Crouch, 20, who was British but born in Greece, was murdered in front of her baby when a gang of three robbers broke into her home in Glyka Nera, an affluent suburb on the outskirts of Athens in the early hours of Tuesday.
They allegedly stuffed a piece of clothing into her mouth to prevent her from screaming, and held her nose so that she could not breathe.
A post-mortem found that Ms Crouch, a student, died from asphyxiation. Greek police described the crime as unusually brutal. The robbers killed the family’s pet dog but left the baby unharmed.
They said Ms Crouch, who had trained in kickboxing, may have been killed because she put up such a spirited fight and saw the thieves’ faces.
Her husband, 32-year-old civil aviation pilot Charalambos Anagnostopoulos, was tied up by the robbers, who put duct tape over his mouth and eyes.
He had begged the raiders not to harm his wife or baby and had told them where to find jewellery and €15,000 in cash, which was hidden in a set of Monopoly.
The couple had intended to use the money to pay builders for work on a plot of land they had recently bought.
“It is possible that the mother saw the faces of the attackers” and that is why she was murdered, said George Kalliakmanis, the head of a police union.
Once they left, Mr Anagnostopoulos was able to raise the alarm by dialing his mobile phone with his nose.
“He was tied up and on the floor so he used his nose to dial the number for the police,” a police spokesman told The Telegraph. “The tape was across his mouth but he managed to make himself understood.”
Forensic experts are studying fingerprints and DNA evidence from the crime scene. Detectives are also checking all CCTV footage in the area. “It’s an ongoing investigation. We don’t have any suspects at this point,” the spokesman said.
The police are checking gangs who operate in the region, robbers with a known record of torturing homeowners and criminals who have recently been released from jail.
Vassilis Pliotas, a prosecutor from the Supreme Court, said that Greek society was “stunned by the unprecedented brutality, the cold-blooded murder committed, with no moral inhibition, in Glyka Nera.”
The funeral of Miss Crouch will be held on Friday on the Aegean island of Alonissos, where her British father and Filipina mother live.
The Greek government has offered a reward of €300,000 for anyone who comes forward with information that leads to the arrest of the gang.