Woman who stabbed suspected paedophile says 'he was asking for trouble'

A woman stabbed a suspected paedophile to death in the UK then handed herself into police saying her elderly neighbour had been “asking for trouble”, a court heard today.

Sarah Sands, 32, took the law into her own hands within weeks of discovering 77-year-old Michael Pleasted had allegedly abused three young boys, her Old Bailey trial heard.

On the evening of November 28 last year, she armed herself with a knife and stabbed Mr Pleasted eight times inside his flat in Canning Town, east London.

After the “determined and sustained attack”, the victim crawled from his living room and collapsed in his hallway where he bled to death, jurors were told.

Within hours of the killing, Sands had handed herself in to police, telling an officer: “Who houses a f****** paedophile on an estate, like, seriously? He was, like, asking for trouble.”

At the time, Pleasted was on bail awaiting trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court on two charges of sexual assault on two children aged under 13.

Police were also investigating a further allegation he had abused a third boy, the Old Bailey heard.

The court heard how Sands had befriended Mr Pleasted who was a familiar local figure and ran a bric-a-brac shop from a Mace convenience store.

Before the sex abuse allegations emerged in early November last year, Sands used to visited him at his flat bringing him home-cooked meals.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told the jury that on the night he died, CCTV footage captured Sands entering his block, and then leaving some 20 minutes later.

At some point she encountered one of her neighbours in the street, telling him: “Pretend you never saw me,” he said.

Sands then fled in a taxi to the Isle of Dogs after changing her clothes and putting the bloody knife and clothes she had been wearing in a carrier bag.

Before deciding to hand herself in, she downed a glass of whisky and half a bottle of wine as she told a family friend: “I stabbed him”.

When an officer asked her what happened at the police station, she told him that the victim had touched some kids “so I took care of it – I stabbed him”.

During a police interview, a distraught Sands told how she had tried to help him, taking him food while all the time he was sexually abusing children.

She told an officer: “That’s the devil, that’s who that is. So we stopped that, I had to stop that.”

She explained she had thought Mr Pleasted was just a nice old man, adding: “He’s f****** harmless now, ain’t he?”

Later, Sands produced a prepared statement denying that she intended to kill Michael Pleasted or cause him serious bodily harm.

She said she went to confront him and only took a knife “for my own protection” because she was scared of him.

There was an argument and she produced the knife to “threaten him” at first before stabbing him, according to the statement.

She said she had no idea he was dead until she was informed by police, adding: “This was not my intention. I am sorry for what I have done.”

Before going to Pleasted’s flat, she had drank two bottles of wine and a bottle of brandy, she said.

Sands denies murder and the trial continues.

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