Peters’ sentence has been backdated to his arrest in Kentucky on August 15 last year.

Madeleine and her parents, Bill and Belinda, were in the court for Judge Peter Zahra’s two hours of remarks, in which he described a two page document attached to fake collar bomb as “an extortion note.”

Also in the room was police officer Karen Lowden, who supported the 18-year-old during the ordeal in which she feared for her life.

“The contents of the document … was to place the victim in fear that she would be killed,” Judge Zahra said.

“He was armed. He concealed his face … (Madeleine) was extremely vulnerable.

“It was a deliberate act of extortion.”

Judge Zahra refused Peter’s claim the event was the “product of him being in a psychotic state or taking on the persona of a character in [a book he was writing.”

The court had previously heard that Peters’ felt he’d “lost everything” after his marriage broke down, career problems and admitted to a psychiatrist that he wanted to “catch himself out” to stop drinking heavily.

He had previously told a psychiatrist that the identity of Madeleine was “not relevant at all”.

Before the courts’ sentencing, Madeleine spoke outside the court, saying, “I’d just like to say I’m happy it’s nearly all over.”

“It’s been quite an ordeal.”

Peters, 52, pleaded guilty to aggravated break and enter and detain for advantage.

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