Mum’s regret after stabbing paedo neighbour to death who abused her sons
A mum who stabbed a peado neighbour to death after he abused her three sons says she regrets allowing the monster into their lives.
In November 2014 Sarah Sands had gone round to Michael Pleasted's flat to persuade him to plead guilty for his offences, but a few minutes later stood over the dying pensioner's body having stabbed him eight times.
Just over four weeks earlier she thought of the 77-year-old as a friend, but now watched him, without calling 999 or attempting to help, as he bled to death.
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Following the attack the harrowing truth about Michael — or 'Mick' — Pleasted started to come out.
The "cheerful pensioner" had once been known as Robin Moult and had 24 convictions for sex offences over three decades.
His alias had meant that he had gone undetected by both the police and local council — who had housed him — and was able to brazenly engage in predatory behaviour.
Pleasted was a well-known and popular figure in the East London estate Sarah had moved to nine years previously, and her eldest son, Bradley, had earned money by helping him out.
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Sarah's younger twins, Alfie and Reece, had been unbeknownst to her, visiting Pleasted at his flat, and had been cleaning a carpet for him when they hurried home one day and told her what he had done to them.
He was arrested and charged with sexual assault, but when she discovered a few weeks later that also abused her eldest son, it tipped her over the edge.
Sarah, then 31, took a knife from her kitchen drawer and went to Pleasted's flat, to persuade him to plead guilty.
She was determined to do this by any means necessary, even by threatening him, just so her boys wouldn't have to face the trauma of giving evidence in court.
"I had one job — to protect my kids — and I failed." she said
At her trial, Sarah told the court Pleasted had "smirked" when he answered the door — and called her boys liars.
After the stabbing she carried the bloodstained knife and handed herself into a nearby police station, still wearing her bloodstained clothes.
This week, supported by her sons – who waived their rights to anonymity – Sarah went public with a campaign to stop paedophiles being able to change their names and start new lives in places where they can continue to target children.
Reflecting on the incident she said: "People say to me all the time: 'I'd have done what you did.' But that's not my message.
"My message is we need tighter controls and longer sentences for paedophiles, and more support for families."
She insists she was "in freefall", suffering a mental breakdown, and that she would never have killed Pleasted if she had been in her right mind.
The jury at her trial accepted her plea and convicted her of manslaughter, due to "loss of control", and she served just under four years in prison.
Sarah admitted to feeling sorry for 'Mick' thinking he was lonely, and would often cook a little extra, lend money and make him cups of tea.
"Now I look back and think: 'I gave him money out of my purse, I gave him food. He drank out of my teacups and sat in my kitchen.' Who does that? He had no shame."
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