Three brothers who were assaulted by a paedophile who changed his identity to conceal his 24 convictions for child abuse have admitted they are “glad” he is dead after their mother killed him to protect them.
In 2014, Sarah Sands drank two bottles of wine and then stabbed Michael Pleasted, 77, eight times at his home in an adjacent block of flats in east London.
Her valiant sons have all reached the age of 18 and have waived their right to anonymity in order to support their single mother, who has been out of prison for four years and is now advocating for a tightening of the rules governing the ability of sex offenders to change their names.
Bradley, one of her sons, admitted that he immediately thought ‘hats off’ to her when he learned she had stabbed Pleasted to death. His twin siblings reported feeling’safer’ after his death. Reece, then 11 years old, stated that it was “nice to know that he was dead.”
In an extraordinary new BBC documentary titled Killing My Children’s Abuser, the boys are asked if they are glad Pleasted is dead. They responded immediately and in unison, “Oh, absolutely!”
Reece also asked, “Why did they let him go on bail?” What makes you think he won’t be thinking, “I know I’m going to get caught. I know I’ll have to go to jail. Let me get four or five more kids”.’
The mother of five was also caught on camera crying outside the apartment where she stabbed her victim and saying, “He took everything from me.” Even now, there are no words to describe how it makes you feel inside. He broke up my family.
“He ruined my life and tried to take the most important thing in it.” They won’t wake up one day and find that this hasn’t happened. When they scream in the night, I’ll never be able to take it away from them.
“I couldn’t tell them it was a dream, because it wasn’t. He was our worst nightmare come true.” It hurts me because they’re my children. I’d do anything for them.
Pleasted had abused three of her children and other young boys on the estate. She had been found guilty of 24 child abuse crimes over the past 30 years.
A legal loophole permits registered sexual offenders to legally change their names via deed poll. Sarah Champion, a member of the Labour Party, has warned that the scheme can help individuals obtain a new driver’s license, passport, and even a new, clean DBS criminal record check, granting them access to children.
‘Gaping hole’ in Sex Offenders Register allowing paedophiles to change names must be closed NOW, says MP
Sarah Champion, a Labour member of parliament, told the BBC that some criminals use name changes to avoid the criminal background checks required for certain jobs, such as working with children.
She stated, “Once they have changed their names, they can obtain a new driver’s license and passport in their new names.” This allows them to obtain a fresh DBS check.
And we find that these individuals then exploit their positions of trust in the most horrifying ways by entering schools and other places where children and vulnerable people are present.
The Home Office announced a “time-limited review” of name changes in July 2021 “to better understand whether existing processes are being abused.”
The Safeguarding Alliance petitioned Members of Parliament to “revoke the right of registered sexual offenders to change their name through a deed poll.”
A spokesperson for the Home Office stated in 2020, ‘We are determined to prevent serious criminals from concealing their pasts and will not tolerate sex offenders who attempt to evade the justice system.
“Sex offenders who fail to notify authorities of a name change are already subject to harsh prison sentences.
We are collaborating with the courts and DBS to ensure that public safety measures are strengthened and continually evaluated.
Mrs. Sands stated that she now regrets killing him. She stated, “I give life to the world.” It never occurred to me that I would be responsible for removing all life from the world.
Mrs. Sands was found guilty of manslaughter but exonerated of murder because she had lost control. She was imprisoned and subsequently stated, “I did what any mother would do.”
It was revealed that Pleasted, considered by the family to be a friendly and helpful neighbor on their east London estate, had changed his name from Robin Moult in order to conceal a lengthy history of child abuse. Mrs. Sands even cooked for him and took care of him, unaware that he was abusing her sons.
Due to their right to privacy, it was not widely known that they had been Pleasted’s victims when she was imprisoned. She stated that she initially intended to threaten Pleasted, who was out on bail awaiting trial, to induce him to plead guilty so that her children would not be required to testify.
Bradley, Alfie, and Reece Sands, the sons of Ms. Sands, all waived their legal right to lifetime anonymity in order to speak out. Everyone acknowledged that they felt safer after their mother killed Pleasted.
Bradley stated, “I thought… When he discovered what his mother had done, he said, “I cannot deny it.” Reece, one of her twins, said it was “nice knowing that he was dead,” but “it didn’t stop any afterthoughts, you know, we would often wake up crying and asking, “where’s mum?”
Alfie added: ‘It did make us feel safer. It had no effect on the nightmares. However, it did give us a sense of security because we no longer had to walk down the street fearing he was around the corner.
Mrs. Sands was convicted of manslaughter on the basis of loss of control following a trial at the Old Bailey in 2015, and was ultimately sentenced to seven and a half years in prison after the Court of Appeal increased her original sentence of three and a half years.
She told the court that she intended to frighten him, but she attacked him when he asserted that her children were all lying.
She said: ‘I realised I had made a huge mistake. In no way was he contrite for his actions. He stated that your children lied. The entire planet froze. I recall having the knife in my left hand when he attempted to seize it. She insists she never intended to murder the child molester.
However, hours after the attack, she turned herself in to the police with the weapon and her blood-stained clothing.
While Sarah’s five children’s single mother was incarcerated, they lived with their grandmother.
Bradley described the situation as follows: “There were many of us in one room.” There was no seclusion.
My grandmother was on the phone with my mother in prison, asking if I could play football or go out with my friends. And frequently she would say ‘no’
Bradley added that it was difficult when she was incarcerated, asking, “Where’s your mother?” We never see her.’
Regarding the assault, she stated, ‘I didn’t know what I was doing. I was terrified and had made a terrible error. He displayed no fear and showed no remorse.
“He remarked, “Your children are lying” – I froze. I was not paying attention to his drawl. He moved toward me. The knife was in my left hand, and he attempted to seize it. I remember leaving.
I did not intend for it to unfold as it did. I had no intention of killing him. The police were correct to inquire. I took the law into my own hands.
Mrs. Sands said of her imprisonment, ‘I was suicidal, and I cried every day for six months. Even in that condition, I continued to call my children in the morning to say good morning and again in the afternoon to inquire about their days.
She continued, ‘They were angry with me. Before I entered, we were so close, but then all of a sudden I was gone. It was terrible for them.
The Home Office said it has already carried out a review of the issue and the UK already has strict rules in place to deal with sex offenders living in the community.
‘I did what any mother would do’: In her own words, how Sarah Sands stabbed to death the paedophile who abused her children
The court heard that on the evening of November 29, 2014, Sands consumed two bottles of wine and a small bottle of whisky before arming herself with a knife and proceeding to Pleastead’s apartment.
She was captured on CCTV entering Pleasted’s apartment on the third floor. Twenty minutes later, she exited the building while holding a bloody knife in her left hand.
Last year, she stated, ‘I did what any mother would do. I never dreamt I’d be capable. I am not proud of it, but at least he cannot harm anyone else.’
Mrs. Sands returned to her apartment and changed out of her blood-stained clothing, telling a neighbor to “pretend you never saw me.”
She then took a taxi to her stepson Paul Penn’s house, where she tearfully admitted to stabbing Pleasted.
Mr. Penn, 27 years old, told the court, “We were chatting when she announced that she had stabbed him.”
I didn’t believe it was serious because it seemed like a joke. She maintained that she had stabbed him. She claimed that when the door opened, she entered and stabbed him, and nothing else.
She produced the knife and displayed it to me. It was a one-foot-long kitchen knife covered in a very pink substance.’
The day after Sands surrendered to police, Pleasted was discovered dead in the hallway of his apartment.
Mrs. Sands wept in the witness box as she insisted she did not intend to injure Pleasted when she went to his apartment armed with a knife.
She told the jury that she had pleaded with him to confess his crimes and spare his young accusers from court.
Mrs. Sands stated, “I was terrified.” It was not the intended outcome. I expected him to listen to me.
The jury deliberated for three days before finding her not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
Twelve-year-old Bradley, the eldest son, waived his right to anonymity in order to expose the paedophile’s crimes.
In a new interview with the BBC, Alfie and Reece, who were 11 at the time, have also revealed their story.
The brothers reported that they could see their abuser’s residence from their own, and that they feared seeing him when they went outside.
Their mother expressed regret for what she did, while her sons stated that they understood her actions.
Mrs. Sands argues that the rules should be tightened to prevent sexual offenders from changing their names, which would enable them to target more victims.
The fact that Pleasted worked at a newsstand and frequently sat outside to meet families gave him access to young children.
The east London apartment block he shared with the Sands family overlooked a playground and a school.
The Home Office stated that a review of the issue has already been conducted and that the United Kingdom already has strict rules in place for dealing with sex offenders living in the community.
During her 2015 trial, it was revealed that Pleasted had 24 sex-related convictions spanning three decades.
At the time he lived next door to Sands, he had changed his name, and his crimes predated the sex offenders registry, so few people were aware of his history.
Mrs. Sands received a seven-year prison sentence and served nearly four years before being released.
She stated that she had no reason not to trust her elderly neighbor, with whom she enjoyed conversing and preparing meals, and that she believed it would be a good way for her son to earn pocket money.
A few weeks later, she learned that Pleasted had been accused of child molestation.
In November 2014, months after initially denying any wrongdoing, her son broke down and admitted he had been groomed and abused.
Bradley, who is now 19 years old, waived his anonymity in order to discuss his ordeal, revealing that he was initially ‘too embarrassed’ and feared he would get in trouble, but had nightmares that the paedophile would come after him again.
Pleasted denied the charges brought against him, requiring his young victims to testify against him in court.
During her trial, Sands told the court she had gone to Pleasted to plead with him to admit his crimes and spare his young accusers from having to go to court.
But when he answered the door, he ignored her request and just ‘smirked’ as he told her the boys were all liars who had ruined his life, she said.
Sands, who had armed herself with a 12-inch kitchen knife before visiting, said she ‘lost control’ and stabbed Pleasted eight times.
Within hours, Sands handed herself into police, telling an officer: ‘Who houses a f****** paedophile on an estate, like, seriously? He was, like, asking for trouble.’