A wealthy Kensington antiques dealer who murdered his seven-year-old daughter has been sentenced to at least 24 years in jail.
Robert Peters, 56, throttled Sophia with his dressing gown cord at their £1m home in Raynes Park on November 3 2017, in a bid to save himself the fees for the boarding school she attended.
The depressed former Israeli soldier had been found not to be a risk by a Merton borough child protection team just a month before the murder, but had been researching child killers and kept his murderous plans a secret after two failed suicide attempts.
Peters, who ran Kensington Antiques Centre in Kensington Church Street, had been planning on killing his daughter for weeks and took advantage of his family leaving them alone to murder her with the cord of his dressing gown.
When Sophia woke up and saw what her father was doing, he said sorry but continued to strangle her, a court heard.
He then made a 999 call, telling the operator "there's a murder" and saying his child had been murdered. When the operator asked "who's killed them?", Peters responded "I have."
Metropolitan Police officers rushed to his home in Blenheim Road, Raynes Park, where they found the front door open and went inside to discover Peters who told them "she's upstairs, I've strangled her".
Sophia was found in her bedroom and an officer immediately loosened the dressing gown cord and attempted CPR, while London Ambulance Service paramedics were also called.
Paramedics tried to revive Sophia as she was taken to St George's Hospital in Tooting, where she was placed into intensive care. Despite the best efforts of medical teams, Sophia was pronounced dead the next day, on November 4 2017.
A post-mortem examination was carried out on the young girl which found her cause of death to be hypoxic-ischaemic brain damage due to being in cardiac arrest as a result of ligature compression of the neck.
The antiques millionaire initially had initially denied murder at a court hearing, but he changed his plea to guilty at the Old Bailey last Wednesday (April 25).
Peters, who has business assets worth more than £1.3m, was jailed for life at the same court on Monday (April 30) and told he would serve at least 24 years behind bars.
Sentencing him, Mr Justice Edis said: "This was a determined, premeditated killing in which there was an intention to kill.
"It is impossible to imagine the last few conscious minutes of that child's life. She was a lovely little girl who loved her parents and thought that they loved her.
"Asleep in bed, she no doubt felt safe and believed that should she need it she had the protection of her father."
"Her shock and bewilderment to find that he was set on her death amounted, in my judgement, to an intentional act of cruelty over and above the killing itself," the judge added.
"I do not think the defendant intended to wake her up but when she did, he carried on anyway, now knowing that the death would not be a painless and oblivious event."
Judge Edis said Peters was "deceitful and manipulative" and "calculating and disingenuous" in the way he hid his plans.
He added: "This was a premeditated crime carefully thought through and relentlessly executed."
The court heard Peters had recently ended a two-and-a-half-year affair with a married Home Office official he met online.
He was also worrying about his finances and claimed his Kensington-based oriental antiques business was going bankrupt, even though he drove a Jaguar car and had money in the bank.
In the months before the killing, he searched the internet for "serial killers", "treatment of child killers in prison" and "premeditated murder".
He chose his opportunity to kill Sophia before she was due to return to her £5,000-a-term boarding school after the half-term break, the court heard.
Following the sentencing, Krittiya Peters, Sophia's mother, said: "I am absolutely devastated by Sophia's death. I am finding it hard to come to terms with her death and the circumstances in which she died.
"I feel betrayed and angry at my husband, who was supposed to look after and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our family at all costs.
"My priority now is to remain positive. Peace and tranquillity is what we need. It is going to be very hard for us. We know that most people will appreciate this and we thank our friends and family for their constant support in this traumatic time. We hope that others will understand that peace is important for us."