December 9, 2021

PC TECH THERAPY

PC Tech Therapy Blog by Daniyal Computer

Smartphone and smartwatch data led to murder confession

3 min read


Smartphone and smartwatch data provided crucial evidence that led yesterday to a man confessing to murdering his wife. The data showed that his story about what happened could not have been true…

Greek helicopter pilot Babis Anagnostopoulos originally claimed that his wife was killed by robbers during a home invasion. However, data from his own phone, his wife’s smartwatch and their home surveillance system all contradicted his version of events.

BBC News reports:

A 33-year-old pilot has confessed to the killing of his young British wife, Caroline Crouch, police say, in a crime that shocked Greece. Anagnostopoulos originally claimed three robbers had broken into the couple’s Athens home and tied him up. But after a lengthy investigation, police said his story did not add up.

Then they checked a range of technical devices to corroborate his account. Caroline Crouch’s biometric watch revealed her pulse readings on the day she died. Babis Anagnostopoulos’s movements were also tracked via his mobile phone, and the couple’s surveillance system also highlighted discrepancies […]

Caroline Crouch’s smart watch showed that her heart was still beating at the time her husband claimed she was murdered. The activity tracker on his phone showed him moving around the house while he said he was tied up; and the recorded time at which data cards were removed from the home security camera also told a different story to his version of events […]

Detectives approached him after the memorial service on Alonnisos on Thursday, asking him to go with them to Athens, saying there had been a breakthrough in the inquiry and they wanted to identify a suspect. It was only when he arrived in the capital he was told that he was the suspect.

He confessed after eight hours of questioning, they said.

It’s not the first time that data from a smartphone has helped to solve a crime. iPhone data also proved crucial in a very similar case in 2018, when a man again claimed that his wife had been killed by intruders.

A pharmacist in the UK murdered his wife, then tried to make it look like intruders had broken into the home and carried out the killing […] but activity data from the iPhones of both murderer and victim showed what really happened.

Patel’s deception was uncovered after police examined the iPhone health app, which tracks the user’s steps throughout the day, on his and his wife’s phones.

In the minutes that followed Jessica’s death, Patel’s phone monitored frantic activity, racing around the house as he staged the burglary and running up and down the stairs. Jessica’s health app remained still until after her death when it recorded a movement of 14 paces as her husband took the iPhone from her body and deposited it outside to make it look as though the “burglar” had dropped it as he left.

There have been a number of other cases in which data from smartphones and smartwatches has played a crucial role, by identifying activity or locations that contradicted a story told by a suspect.

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