United Kingdom — Sarah Sands, a
single mother of five from East London, has been sentenced to three-and-a-half
years in prison for stabbing a convicted paedophile to death. The jury of ten
women and two men deliberated for three days before clearing Sands of murder
and convicting her of the manslaughter of Michael Pleasted, by reason of “loss
Within weeks of hearing that her
neighbour, Michael Pleasted, had sexually molested three children, Sands, 32,
armed herself with a knife and stabbed him eight times at his flat in Canning
After the attack, Pleasted, who was
awaiting trial on two charges of sexual assault against children and was under
investigation for a third, crawled into the hallway and bled to death.
During the hearing, the Old Bailey
heard that Pleasted had previously served sentences for indecent assault and
buggery and had 24 previous convictions for sexually assaulting boys between
1970 and 1991.
Before the new allegations emerged,
the 77-year-old had become a known community figure and was running a
bric-a-brac shop when Sands befriended him and began bringing meals to his
During the trial, Sands sobbed,
saying that she had not meant to harm Pleasted despite going to his flat with a
knife. Instead, she claimed she wanted him to admit his crimes so his young
accusers would not have to attend court.
On the leniency of the sentence, the
judge described the case as “unique” and claimed Sands had lost control rather
than taken the law into her own hands and engaged in “vigilante conduct.”
He added, “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.”
Sands has been in custody for 10
months and could be released on parole in 11 months time.