Her expensive boarding school was one of the items, he figured was draining his finances
The killer dad who admitted he had been planning the killing for weeks used the cord to strangle Sophie for “20 or 30 minutes” before calling police
The Antiques dealer from South West London, UK told the court that before he strangled his daughter, said “sorry” when she asked him “what are you doing” before completing his heinous task
Robert Peters used a dressing gown cord to strangle Sophie for “20 or 30 minutes” before calling police, a court heard
Peters originally admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder, claiming he heard voices at the time
Confessed child killer: Robert
A father on trial for killing his young daughter dramatically changed his plea at London’s Old Bailey Wednesday, admitting to murdering his daughter Sophia at their million dollar family home in Wimbledon area of the British capital in November last year.
Robert Peters, an antiques dealer who is accused of strangling his seven-year-old daughter admitted he said “sorry” to her before carrying out the killing he had ‘planned for weeks’, a court heard.
The 56-year-old millionaire used a dressing gown cord to end Sophia’s life in her bed at the family’s $1.4million home in Wimbledon, South West London, last November 3, as the schoolgirl asked “what are you doing?”.
He admitted she gave him no cause to dislike her, going on to explain how he killed his daughter the day before she was due to return to a $7,000-a-year boarding school.
Peters said Sophie was not getting on well at school, adding: “That’s partly down to her ability.
“Maybe I thought when it started she would improve. It wasn’t an annoyance particularly. It was everything, the whole scenario of my debt.”
A video of his police interview was shown to the Old Bailey jury, in which he confessed he had been planning the killing for weeks.
The killing came just over a month after Peters, a suicidal, manic-depressive was found not to be a risk by child protective services.
His wife Krittiya Promsat, was not at home at the time of the murder.
Information from relatives reveal however, that Peters throttled his second wife, Francine Peters, when they were married between 1994 and 2009.
The victim did not file a police or medical report at the time. The fact was only revealed by the suspect’s ex-wife to authorities when they interviewed her while investigating the murder of Sophia.
Describing the fresh revelations, Judge Andrew Edis said: “In her witness statement she describes a number of episodes of violence directed against her by her then husband.
“In particular there was one episode so she says when he grabbed her round the neck and strangled her.”
The former Mrs Peters said she had tried to hide the strangle marks with a roll-neck jumper in hot weather.
The revelations come after the court was told Robert Peters had previously thought about killing his daughter but didn’t act until November 3 last year, knowing it would be the last time they were alone together before she went back to her £5,000 a term boarding school.
The court heard the businessman had been depressed, fearing financial ruin, and had wanted his family to be “spared the pain and upset when he became bankrupt”.
The defendant originally admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder, claiming he heard voices at the time.
But with his wife Krittiya Promsat, due to give evidence against him on the third day of his trial, Peters indicated he wished to change his plea.
Defense attorney, Jim Sturman, informed the court his client : “this morning has given me clear instructions that he wishes to change his plea and that he will, if re-arraigned, plead guilty to murder.”
The new position Sturman said would be “devastating news to his family” sitting in the public gallery.
Peters who had previously told police he was “without emotion” after strangling his daughter, nodded as he admitted the charge. He had previously described the attack, telling police that Sophia had just woken up and asked “what are you doing?” as he put the cord around her neck, strangling her for 20 minutes on the morning of November 3.
The successful businessman from south west London, said: “I have been depressed for a long time.
“I planned on killing my daughter because I just couldn’t bear going on with life.
“Over the last year I have been slowly going bankrupt. Not yet bankrupt, but that’s the way it has been going.
“I haven’t been in control of anything. That was the fact. My life was impossible to live.”
He added: “I went into her bedroom and I strangled her.”
Peters said he had a two-and-a-half year affair with a married woman he met online who worked for the Home Office.
He left the family home six months ago he said, but later returned.
In describing the affair, he said: “She had a hold over me.
“I tried to end the relationship a number of times but she couldn’t let me go. I kept on going back.”
His wife found out a year ago, but “forgave me sort of, asking me questions” since he returned home, adding: “But that wasn’t the real pressure. The pressure was that I was going bankrupt and unable to cope.
“I did seek some help but it wasn’t help. They gave me different pills at times.”
He explained how he tried to commit suicide twice in the previous months, and had tried 20 years ago.
Asked if his business was doing okay, he replied: “Not really. It’s slowly going under in my mind. Just losing money, not being able to cope with it.
“I was drowning in my business, and it didn’t matter what they gave me. I was in a hopeless situation.”
He said he had a “fear of being homeless and on the streets – that was losing everything”.Peters calmly added: “I just felt trapped. Continuously trapped.”
He said he had not been a “good father”, and Sophia had not been loved the way she “should have been”, adding: “It’s just me and my personality.
“Why that turned to murder is hard to fathom.”
On what he thought the outcome would be, he said: “I would spend the rest of my life in jail, which is probably so.”
Peters who had recently moved back into the family home after cheating on his wife for two-and-a-half years, had previously told police he was worried he would lose custody of his daughter.
Asked why he had not taken his own life, Peters said: “I tried.”
Peters went on: “I went into the room and strangled her. I just put it round her neck and tightened it. She woke up.”
Asked what he said to her, Peters told police: “Just sorry.”
He said it took 20 to 30 minutes before he felt she had died.
Asked when he stopped, Peters replied: “When she was lifeless.”
He said she fought it “a little bit, until she became lifeless”, and then “I left it tied hard around her neck and went to call the police”.
Peters went on: “I was too tormented with myself. It’s hard to fathom, hard for everyone to understand.”
Police told him he did not seem to be going bankrupt, which he had claimed was at the root of his breakdown.
He replied: “I knew eventually everything was running out. It was draining. I was powerless to control it.
“I knew I wasn’t able to get out or just to change. I just couldn’t downsize or move on or do anything about it.
“A disaster waiting to happen. Slowly but surely.”
He said he was still making maintenance payments to an ex-wife which was one of the causes why his money was “draining”.
On why he had chosen to kill Sophia on that day, he said: “It was the last day before she was going to go back to school.
“I thought about doing this all week, or weeks.”
Peters, of Raynes Park, south west London, denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The defendant was remanded in custody and is expected to be sentenced Monday April 30.