Father Pleads Guilty to Murder of Seven-Year-Old Daughter

Robert Peters told police he had been planning to kill her for weeks

Sophia Peters

Robert Peters, the man accused of killing his seven-year-old daughter in Raynes Park last year, has admitted murder after changing his plea at an Old Bailey trial.

The 56-year-old man, who is the director of an antiques company, switched to a guilty plea three days into proceedings after the court heard how on the morning of Friday, 3 November 2017, he had been left at home in charge of his daughter, Sophia Peters.

Robert Peters

He later told police he had been planning to kill her for weeks. Other family members had left early, and he told officers he believed this would be his last chance to kill her for some time. He went to her room and strangled her and then called the 999 at 8.01am saying "there's a murder" and going on to say a child had been murdered. When the caller was asked, "who's killed them?" Peters replied, "I have."

Officers arrived at the detached house on Blenheim Road five minutes later and found the front door of the house open. When they entered they were met by Peters who said, "She's upstairs, I've strangled her. " He was then arrested.

An officer found Sophia in her bedroom and she found a black fleece dressing-gown belt had been tied around her neck. The officer worked to loosen the ligature and began CPR. Sophia was found to be still alive and was rushed to an intensive care ward at St George’s Hospital but died the following day.

A post-mortem examination later gave a cause of death as hypoxic-ischaemic brain damage due to being in cardiac arrest as a result of ligature compression of the neck.

Detective Inspector Helen Rance from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, who led the investigation, said, "Sophia was an innocent seven-year-old girl, much loved by her mother, family and friends. She was tragically murdered by the hands of her own father in the most frightening way.

"Sophia had her whole life ahead of her, which was taken away so cruelly in an act of pure selfishness. Robert Peters has shown no remorse for the murder, and initially maintained a defence of diminished responsibility. However, due to the strong evidence against him, he has changed his plea to guilty.

"This was a particularly traumatic case to deal with for all concerned, and I hope that this conviction brings a degree of closure to Sophia's family."

The house on Blenheim Road. Picture: Google Streetview

Peters will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 30 April.

April 25, 2018