Karen Peter and her three daughters.
Karen Peter was strangled by Thomas Peter, who then set her body alight on Thursday, 2 August 2018.
Their three daughters were inside the property at the time but all escaped unharmed.
Thomas Peter has today been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 25 years.
Their eldest daughter, Imogen, said: “I find it hard to describe the devastation that blew our world apart on the 2nd of August. When they told us our mother’s body had been found inside the house, time stood still, frozen, people talked but nothing made sense. When I think to the future it’s hard to imagine it without her.
“I will mum to walk through the front door and my heart aches when she fails to appear, a pain I’ve never felt before. I long for her to hold me, one more evening of cuddles on the sofa. I miss her smell. I searched the house for something of mum’s so I could hold onto her but everything was gone, destroyed due to fire damage, just like her, gone, no more.
“We are young; we do not want to be engulfed in sorrow. We still have our lives to live. When we remember mum we want to remember her funny capers, her laughter, not that tragic day. Our mother deserves to be remembered for the special person she was. So if you see us laughing and joking we do this in memory of her. It doesn’t mean we are not breaking inside.”
Karen’s mother, Marjorie McDonald, said: “Without realising it through the years, we became inseparable. Karen would say to me, ‘I don’t need a best friend mum when I have you.’ Karen would pop round most days. She would sit in the armchair by the telly, Dennis (Karen’s father) would sit next to her. So many times I would come into the room and find them giggling away to themselves, they were always laughing.
“Karen would turn up at all hours with the girls, I didn’t mind, I would always rustle them up egg and chips. We would sit around chatting and laughing; those memories I will keep close.
“Nothing is the same anymore, I feel lost and empty without her. I often look at our front door expecting for her to knock, for the phone to ring and hear her cheerful voice, to walk into the living room and see her sitting with Dennis laughing again but she’s gone and I miss her so very much. I long to hold her one more time.
“I feel such sorrow knowing Karen will never see her gorgeous children grow, get married or have children of their own. Thomas has taken this away from Karen, from all of us.
“On the 2nd of August, I stood in the street outside Valentines Way and watched helpless as it burned. All the while my daughter, Karen, lay trapped inside. This day will torture me forever. I will never recover from the loss of my children. No parent should ever outlive their children and stand at their graves.”Tags: Barking and Dagenham, Rush Green
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