Woman guilty of manslaughter having stabbed paedophile neighbour to death

Woman guilty of manslaughter having stabbed paedophile neighbour to death

Sands (BBC)

On 10 July 2015, Sarah Sands, 32 was convicted of manslaughter. The Independent ran the story and details can be seen here.

What happened?

Sands’ 77-year-old neighbour Michael Pleasted was on bail for sexual assault offences committed against two children under the age of 13. There was an investigation into offences committed in respect of a third child. Pleasted had 24 previous convictions for  child sexual offences dating from 1970.

Sands’ account was that she went to confront Pleasted at his flat in Canning Town, east London. She said that she had no intention of harming him and had gone to convince him to admit to his offences in order to save the victims the trauma of going to court.

However – she said – Pleasted would not listen and smirked, claiming that the complainants were lying. Sands then – “in a fit of rage” – stabbed Pleasted eight times. He crawled into his hallway where he bled to death.

Shortly after, Sands handed herself into the police, commenting:

“Who’s housing a f****** paedophile on an estate, like, seriously? He was, like, asking for trouble…I was frightened. It was not how it was meant to go. He was meant to listen to me.”

At the trial, Sands described the killing:

 “I just had it (the knife) in my hand and I poked him with it in the front and that’s when we both realised at the same time what had happened and he grabbed me…He was frightening me and I pushed him away and I left. That was it.”

Conviction – what is loss of control?

The jury acquitted Sands of murder but convicted her of manslaughter by reason of loss of control.

Loss of control is a partial defence to murder and it replaced “provocation” (although the sentencing guidelines in relation to this have not been updated). The change was brought about by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 s.54:

Partial defence to murder: loss of control

(1)Where a person (“D”) kills or is a party to the killing of another (“V”), D is not to be convicted of murder if—

(a)D’s acts and omissions in doing or being a party to the killing resulted from D’s loss of self-control,

(b)the loss of self-control had a qualifying trigger, and

(c)a person of D’s sex and age, with a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint and in the circumstances of D, might have reacted in the same or in a similar way to D.

(2)For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), it does not matter whether or not the loss of control was sudden.

(3)In subsection (1)(c) the reference to “the circumstances of D” is a reference to all of D’s circumstances other than those whose only relevance to D’s conduct is that they bear on D’s general capacity for tolerance or self-restraint.

(4)Subsection (1) does not apply if, in doing or being a party to the killing, D acted in a considered desire for revenge.

(5)On a charge of murder, if sufficient evidence is adduced to raise an issue with respect to the defence under subsection (1), the jury must assume that the defence is satisfied unless the prosecution proves beyond reasonable doubt that it is not.

(6)For the purposes of subsection (5), sufficient evidence is adduced to raise an issue with respect to the defence if evidence is adduced on which, in the opinion of the trial judge, a jury, properly directed, could reasonably conclude that the defence might apply.

(7)A person who, but for this section, would be liable to be convicted of murder is liable instead to be convicted of manslaughter.

(8)The fact that one party to a killing is by virtue of this section not liable to be convicted of murder does not affect the question whether the killing amounted to murder in the case of any other party to it.

There is case law on the defence and a number of propositions and principles arising out of those cases, one of which is that context is extremely important.


She will be sentenced in September. The maximum is life imprisonment (as manslaughter is a common law offence and the sentence is “at large”). Manslaughter has a very wide range of sentences imposed, given the widely disparate way in which the offence can be committed.

Barring any significant information we are unaware of, this will be an immediate custodial sentence measured in years.


  1. Did she offer a plea to manslaughter? If not, I suppose there will be no discount.

    This troubles me:

    “The judge told the court that an inquiry was underway into the decision to bail Pleasted whilst he was awaiting trial for the child sex offences.”

    What sort of inquiry into a judicial decision?

  2. And you have fallen into serious error, Dan. Where you say

    “Sands’ 77-year-old neighbour Michael Pleasted was on bail for sexual assault offences committed against two children under the age of 13. There was an investigation into offences committed in respect of a third child.”

    you mean

    “Sands’ 77-year-old neighbour Michael Pleasted was on bail accused of committing sexual assault offences against two children under the age of 13. There was an investigation into offences alleged to have been committed in respect of a third child.’

    don’t you?

  3. If press are to be believed Ms Sands went armed with a knife. I have no respect for padeo’s but a bit uncomfortable with the vigilante aspects of this case as reported, I find myself conflicted.

  4. Lib – may I so abbreviate you – if she had been acquitted would you be happy for her name to be made public?

  5. “I just had it (the knife) in my hand and I poked him with it in the front and that’s when we both realised at the same time what had happened and he grabbed me…He was frightening me and I pushed him away and I left. That was it.”

    Let’s think about that. She must have taken the knife with her. she “poked him with it in the front” – i.e. she stabbed him. He “grabbed her” – a victim (that’s him in this case) of 77 tried to defend himself against an aggressor (that’s her) of 32.

    But she stabbed him eight times.

    No human being, male or female, has the right to do that to any other human being, male or female, not even a convicted or suspected paedophile. What is there to be conflicted about?

    • He was a paedophile but that doesn’t give her the right to kill, I guess. No-one goes with the intention of reasoning with another armed with a knife. I’m conflicted because had he molested my child I’d have probably thanked her for sorting it but because it wasn’t I can see what she did was wrong hence my conflict is it only wrong because I wasn’t personally affected.

      • Sorry, LibEgSor, I thought you felt conflicted because it’s a woman who did it. I would feel the same if it was one of my family. It must be bloody awful to have a man like that for a close relation, though.

        Yours if I may say so in siblinghood.

        • Andrew, I know it’s surprising but there was no gender bias to my musings on this case; merely the rights, wrongs and challenges to my morality. Also in siblinghood.

  6. L.E.S people that reason like you are a danger to society. You are in the dark ages. You make Islamic State look like forward thinking liberals!!

    • Men make the world and unbearable place for us all to live in. Male violence is a bigger threat to women aged 9 to 45 ish than cancer, which as we know is an indiscriminate disease, like OMG. I see you like to throw out personal attacks towards me Brian Pinewood presumably because I refuse to appease or pander to the enormous male ego. Whatever my shortcomings I comfort myself everyday that thank god I’m not a man the gender single handedly responsible for fucking up the world one mass genocide, suicide bomb, mass shooting, child adbucting, rape and sexual assault at a time. Yours in sisterhood.

        • Thank you but I’ll take the word of the United Nations, my source, over anything you or Ally Fool have to say.

      • “Male violence is a bigger threat to women aged 9 to 45 ish than cancer”

        This is a zombie statistic that has been popping up in various forms for about a decade now. In every form where it means anything it is just plain false, but no matter how many times it is corrected it refuses to die. It seems to be one of a number of zombie statistics like the one about there being more people alive than have ever lived, that are unkillable because, for some reason, people want to believe in them. You haven’t given a source for you claim but, depending on what you mean, it is either wrong or, even worse it is what us geeks call “not even wrong” (in other words the phrase “bigger threat” is too vague to be falsifiable).

        Ally Fogg wrote an interesting article on this particular zombie, which you can read here

        and if your “bigger threat” refers to threats to life, you can find out what actually kills people (in the UK at least) by consulting the very wonderful NHS Atlas of Risk, which you can find here


        • Thank you but I’ll take the word of the United Nations, my source, over anything you have to say.

    • Thank you but I’ll take the word of the United Nations, my source, over anything you have to say.

      • That’s not an unreasonable attitude to take. The United Nations is a fine body. However in order to convince me (and I suspect anyone else) you will need to be a bit more precise about your source. Simply saying it is the United Nations is far too vague, because the UN must produce thousands of documents every year. If you could give us a link to the particular document from which you get this claim then we will be able to tell:

        (a) Exactly what it was that the UN asserted. Your “biggest threat” is a bit too vague to be useful, and I suspect that some more precise claim was made in the original document, and

        (b) What the evidence for that claim was.

        By the way sorry for posting the same stuff several times over. For some reason the website didn’t appear to be accepting my contributions, so I kept on posting stuff and then posting it again because it didn’t appear to have uploaded.

        Also by the way, I seem to have spent a lot of my time recently asking people to provide sources for statistical claims (you, Ciaran Goggins, “falsely accused”, who may or may not be a separate person to Ciaran). Since there aren’t that many of us on this site, is there any chance we could establish a house rule that people aren’t allowed to make statistical claims unless they can provide primary sources for them?

        • Last time I checked I owed you jack shit. In other words find it youself and while you’re doing that find out why men behave like violent out of control animals and sort that out too in fact I suggest your efforts would be better directed in that area. Plenty of primary sources to assist you too. Good luck with both. Yours in sisterhood

          • “Last time I checked I owed you jack shit.”

            You certainly aren’t to provide your sources. Similarly no one is obliged to believe what you say, or to consider that you are an honest debater speaking in good faith.

            On the other hand, you generally represent yourself as a feminist, and your arguments as being feminist ones, so you might feel you have an obligation to present feminism in a good light. In this particular instance you were asked to provide sources for a claim you had made. There are a number of ways you could respond to that, including:

            (a) You could give a source. That would add weight to your argument, and enhance your reputation as an honest and thoughtful debater.

            (b) If you felt, on reflection, that your source didn’t justify your claim then you could say so. That wouldn’t add weight to your argument, but it would enhance your reputation, and it would mean that people will pay more attention to what you say in future.

            (c) You could bluster, using phrases like “Last time I checked I owed you jack shit.” That adds nothing to your argument, or your reputation. The general impression given is that you can’t justify the claim that you have made, but that you are too dishonest or childish to say so (and if you feel that is a harsh judgement, then you can easily put me straight by providing the link that I asked for).

            You appear to have gone for (c). In fact, when presenting the feminist case on this website, you seem to consistently act in such a way as to present feminism in the worst possible light. We get the odd “Mens’ Rights” activist contributing to the site, but they never manage to undermine feminism quite as effectively as you do. I can’t help wondering whether you are what you seem. Is it possible that deep in the bunkers of the patriarchy there is a secretive black ops division, whose mission is to discredit feminism by deliberately advancing arguments that appear dishonest and evasive, and that you are one of their most effective and garlanded agents?

            Incidentally, I feel much the same way about the “Mens’ Rights” activists. Every time I read something from one of them I feel more kindly disposed towards feminism. We have no way of knowing whether people are who they say they are, or seem to be, so maybe “Ciaran Goggins”, and “falsely accused” are secret agents for feminism fighting some covert war with your agents of the patriarchy.

  7. Yada yada yada. The information is out there David S but you don’t want to look for it you’d rather I provided it so you could systematically pull it apart with stupid phrases like zombie stats. Meanwhile women die at the hands of men. The fact is male violence kills women and there is plenty of primary, secondary and tertiary sources and evidence but you don’t want to discuss that men violence threatens us women and us all do you? I don’t care if men tear each other to pieces however it’s women who are doing the dying, getting raped, getting beaten, assaulted, harassed and verbally abused. You lot are more dangerous than cancer or a road traffic accident according to the UN yes the United Nations. But you want to quibble about whether or not I’m telling the truth. Why, because I’m a woman or because your male ego doesn’t like the truth about men. In any case take your beef up with your fellow men who are both the cause and solution to this sh*t. Proud to be a feminist calling men out on their violent sh*t. Yours in sisterhood.

    • Oh dear, LES. You do seem to be determined to present yourself in as unfavourable light as you possibly can. All you would need to do, in order to dispel impression of dishonesty that you have created, is to provide a source for this claim of yours. You seem to be mysteriously determined to avoid doing that. Instead you want me to go and look for the data to support this claim. I don’t believe the claim is true, so that is a bit like asking me to go and find you a unicorn. However I like to be helpful, so I will do my best for you. The claim that male violence is a greater threat than cancer appears to have originated with a world development report from 1993 that calculated the disability adjusted lost years (DALYs) attributable to various causes. You can find it here


      Some feminist activists have convinced themselves that, among women aged 15-44 (I’m not sure where you got 9-44 from, was it a typo?) gender based violence accounted for more DALYs than cancer. However the report simply doesn’t say that. The DALYs attributable to different causes are set out in table B.7 on page 223 of the report. The report estimates that, in 1990, there were 155 million DALYs lost by women aged 15-44. Of those 155 million, 4.5% were attributed to malignant neoplasms (i.e. cancer), 1.0% were attributed to homicide and violence, and 1.8% to war. A little arithmetic will convince you that, even if all violence and war counts as “male violence”, it still does not account for anything like as many DALY’s as cancer.

      The statistical legerdemain by which feminist activists inflated the DALYs that the report attributed to violence, and then constructed a false comparison with cancer, is interesting. I would be happy to explain it to you if you showed the slightest interest in reasoned argument. However you don’t seem to be interested in reasoned argument. In fact you seem uninterested in whether what you say is true or not, describing such concerns as a “quibble”. To be frank, I have no idea what you are trying to do in your posts. You appear to want to present a case regarding the toll inflicted by male violence. There is indeed such a case to be made, but your bluster and evasiveness creates the impression that there is not. I could have made a better job of presenting that case myself. I am prepared to believe that you genuinely are some kind of feminist, but you really aren’t helping the cause very much.

          • 1) I will believe anything the United Nations says over anything you have to say. How many times is it going to take for you to get that. And wrong report by the way.

            2) you are full as sh*t because while you want to quibble over whether women age 9 to 44 was a typo when the report you quote says 15 to 44 that was your focus – was it a typo.You expressed no concern LIKE ABSOLUTELY ZERO FFS that men and their violence are a bigger risk to women in the world than cancer or a road traffic accident because you just wanna score points.

            3) you like to take one line or two of mine, repeat it and then drone on about it , like men do, about it while ignoring the issue of male violence.

            4) my original comment was made to the rude man who compared me to Islamic State because I dared to express an opinion and was directed at him as a reality check of the facts.

            5) you have used many tactics to attempt to silence me and none of them have worked. Because I’m right the biggest threat to women, children and men (but I don’t care about men) in this world is men. You can keep posting and mansplaining away but that’s the way it is. You lot should come with a government health warning.

            Yours in sisterhood

  8. LES, I wouldn’t dream of trying to silence you. I can recognise a lost cause when I see one. And yes I do agree that Brian Pinewood’s comparison of you with IS is a bit ridiculous.

  9. She got three and a half years which I have to say is very lenient – I would not be surprised if the A-G referred it.