An east London mother-of-five who stabbed to death a serial child abuser has been acquitted of his murder.

But the Silvertown 32-year-old still faces jail-time as she was found guilty of manslaughter following the drunken killing of Michael Pleasted in a confrontation.

Pleasted, 77, had a record stretching back decades for the abuse of young boys and had been charged with two new allegations in the months before his death. Judge Nicholas Cooke QC told the Old Bailey that the decision to bail him and send him home would be investigated. The jurors were “clearly troubled”, he said.

The decision proved fatal. On November 28, Sarah Sands, who knew Pleasted, a familiar sight on the estate, went to his high-rise to extract a confession. In her bag were a kitchen knife, a hammer and a wrench which, she told the court, were for self-defence. She had drunk two bottles of wine and a bottle of brandy.

In the ensuing row, she stabbed Pleasted eight times. One blow hit an artery and the old man bled to death. He was found by police in his hallway trying to reach the front door.

Sands handed herself into police and the court heard she told officers: “I took care of it. I stabbed him. Who houses a f****** paedophile on an estate, like seriously? He was asking for trouble.

“I did it all by myself. I couldn’t let anyone else get hurt you see, somebody had to protect people, somebody had to do something.”

Sands was in tears when she heard the verdict in a trial that had seen members of the jury weeping over the distressing evidence.

Sentencing was adjourned until mid-September for psychiatric reports to be completed.

Det Sgt Perry Benton, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “There were no winners or losers in this case. It is just very, very sad.”