Legal

‘I Killed my Neighbour After He Abused my Sons’

Warning: This story may be upsetting to some.

UK mum-of-five Sarah Sands didn’t intend to kill her 77-year-old neighbour. Instead, she was going over there to talk to him – to ask him to plead guilty about what he had done to her sons – so they would be spared the process of reliving it in court. 

Showed no remorse

However, things didn’t go to plan. Sarah, who had drank two bottles of wine before walking into the lift, stood face to face with the man accused of molesting her three sons.

Killed neighbour
A very upset Sarah in the lift before confronting Pleasted.

His name was Michael Pleasted, whose flat overlooked a playground and school in Canning Town, East London. He had a very twisted past involving criminal sex charges – 24 convictions to be exact – but he was able to change his name so no one knew. 

On that day, Michael stood at the doorway with Sarah and showed no signs of remorse for what he had done to Sarah’s three boys. Instead, he told the distraught mum that her children were lying. 

mum central
Michael Pleasted, who had 24 sex convictions when he was accused of abusing Sarah’s sons.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I was frightened and I had made a terrible mistake. He showed no fear – and was not remorseful at all,” she said in a new BBC documentary, Killing My Children’s Abuser.

“He was like, ‘Your children are lying’ – I froze. I wasn’t listening to his drawl. He came towards me. I had the knife in my left hand and he tried to grab it… I remember leaving.

I didn’t intend it to go the way it did. I didn’t intend to kill him. Police were right to ask questions. I had taken the law into my hands.”

Sarah killed Pleasted in 2014 and, in 2015, she was convicted of manslaughter for stabbing Pleasted to death and sentenced to seven years in prison. She was released after four years. 

‘Hats off to mum’ 

Because of what she did, her three boys did not have to testify in court. They did not have to relive the nightmare and they did not have to spend every night sleeping on the same street as someone who previously molested them. 

Her brave boys have now waived their anonymity and have shared their story, hailing their mum as a hero. Bradley was just 11 at the time and admits he was glad to hear that his mum killed Pleasted. 

killed my neighbour
Sarah and her sons share their story with the BBC

I thought, ‘hats off’. I’m not going to deny it.”

Alfie, Sarah’s other son, added, 

It didn’t slow down the nightmares. But it did give us a sense of security because you didn’t have to walk down the street thinking he was going to come around the corner. He lived literally across the road from us. I could open that window over there and I’d see his house.”

Had happened before

Michael Pleasted was a known sex offender. He’d done this before. In fact, he had 24 convictions in the past.

However, he had changed his name and his crimes predated the sex offenders register.

This is something Sarah is now urging to put a stop to. 

For paedophiles, if you touch children, there has to be consequences. And hiding behind name changes… it has to be taken away from them. That right to change their name has to be taken away from them.”

Criminal sex offender registration in Australia 

Sarah lives in the UK where criminal sex crimes are a bit different. In Australia, there are four classes of offences, which vary according to the degree and nature of the charge. If you are convicted of Class 1 or 2 offence, you will be subject to a mandatory registration order.

For Class 3 or 4 offences, orders are at the court’s discretion.

Class 1 is considered the worst and involves the penetration of a child under the age of 16. Class 4 Offences are those not involving penetration (e.g. Sexual Assault, Sexual Servitude or threats to commit a sexual offence).

Every situation is different:

  • For adults convicted of two or more CLASS ONE offenses or three of more CLASS TWO offenses, there is a mandatory lifetime registration on the Criminal Sex Registry.
  • For adults convicted of one Class 1 offence or two of Class 2 offences, your details will feature on the register for 15 years.
  • One count of Class 2 will require registration for 8 years.

If you need help, please contact one of these services

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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