A Silvertown single mother has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for stabbing to death a convicted paedophile.
Sarah Sands, 32, a mother of five, confronted 77-year-old neighbour Michael Pleasted after he was released on bail ahead of a trial where he was accused of molesting young boys. He had a long history of child abuse and had been in jail several times.
Judge Nicholas Cooke as the Old Bailey said it was a “truly exceptional case” and cut her seven year sentence in half. She had been cleared at the Old Bailey of murder but convicted of manslaughter by reason of loss of control.
The judge drew attention to the distinction saying that she had not taking the law into her own hands, adding: “There must never be the slightest encouragement for mob rule.”
• Background: Mum cleared of murder
Sands has been in custody since she handed herself into police following the killing last November and could be out on parole, and reunited with her family, in less than a year.
He said: “This was a case in which the defendant promptly gave herself up to the police in a highly stressed state, never disputed responsibility for the killing as a matter of fact, did not take the opportunity to get rid of evidence and demonstrated remorse.”
The original trial had heard that Sands had gone to Pleasted’s flat, armed with a knife, intent on getting her neighbour to admit to the allegations of abuse so the victims would not have to give evidence.
By the time she left the flat, he had bled to death in the hallway after a “determined and sustained attack”.
Sands handed herself into police, declaring: “Who houses a f****** paedophile on an estate, like, seriously? He was, like, asking for trouble.”
Sands said: “I was frightened. It was not how it was meant to go. He was meant to listen to me.”