A Tamworth man who stabbed his wife to death despite her eight-year-old daughter's efforts to stop the attack has been jailed for at least 20 years after being found guilty of murder.
Simon Downer, whose step-daughter's evidence formed the "central plank" of the case against him, showed no emotion as he was convicted of killing Tracey Downer following a two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Passing a mandatory life sentence, Judge Robert Juckes QC said the killing was aggravated by Downer's conviction for stabbing a previous partner and the fact it was witnessed by the eight-year-old.
Ordering that Downer serve at least 20 years before being considered for parole, the judge praised the victim's daughter for giving "powerful and clear" eyewitness evidence.
The eight-year-old, who cannot be named, told the court how she had disarmed her step-father before he selected another "massive" 12-inch knife to stab her mother.
The youngster then dialled 999 three times in the aftermath of the killing, summoning help for her mother, as her step-father sought to "play for time" after the stabbing.
Downer, of Tinkers Green Road, Wilnecote, Tamworth, was convicted of killing his wife at their home in the early hours of June 21 last year.
As well as hearing videolink evidence from the eight-year-old, the jury was also informed that Downer, 33, had married Tracey a day after being released on licence from a six-year sentence for wounding with intent.
Downer submitted in court that his wife, who was aged 40, had stabbed herself, a claim which Judge Juckes described as being as callous a defence as it was possible to think of.
Downer, whose wife was aware of his criminal past, was arrested by officers at the scene of the attack and was charged with murder two days later.
Speaking after the case, Detective Chief Inspector Steff Lungrin, who led the investigation, said: "Despite overwhelming evidence that he killed his wife, Downer refused to own up to this horrific crime.
"Our thoughts remain with Tracey's family, including her young daughter, as they continue to mourn her tragic loss."
The victim's mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the eight-year-old, issued a statement after the case through Staffordshire Police.
The statement read: "Justice has been done. It won't bring our daughter back to us, but could hopefully save another family going through what we have since last June."
Chief Inspector Kevin Mulligan, of Staffordshire Police's Trent Valley division, said the eight-year-old had shown incredible bravery in coming to her mother's aid.
The officer said: "The young girl had the presence of mind to firstly disarm her step-father, and secondly to report it to the emergency services... and remain calm and paint a picture to us so that we were able to respond accordingly.
"Without question, the central plank of the case has been her evidence."
Don Knapper, District Crown Prosecutor for Staffordshire CPS, said his thoughts went out to Tracey's daughter, family and friends.
Speaking after the unanimous guilty verdict, Mr Knapper commented: "Downer denied stabbing his wife and offered an improbable suggestion that she stabbed herself whilst she was cooking.
"Tracey's eight-year-old daughter discovered her mother injured on the sofa and it was her who contacted the emergency services.
"The aftermath of this brutal attack was left for an eight-year-old girl to handle. The impact of that will be devastating and will no doubt stay with her for the rest of her life."