The sons of a mother who stabbed their abuser to death have spoken out for the first time to defend the murder.
Sarah Sands, 39, stabbed pedophile Michael Pleasted eight times in a “determined and sustained assault” while on bail for sexually assaulting her children.
She was jailed for seven and a half years for manslaughter on the grounds that she lost control of the wheel after the 77-year-old bled to death in 2014. Ms Sands’ eldest son, Bradley, 20, waived his right to anonymity last year to reveal he was abused by Pleasted at their estate in Silvertown, east London.
But now his twin brothers Alfie and Reece, both 19, have also spoken out to say they too were assaulted by the convicted sex offender when they were 11.
Alongside their mother, Bradley told the BBC: “I thought hats off, I’m not going to deny it.”
“It made us feel safer,” Alfie added.
“It hasn’t slowed down the nightmares. But it did give us a safe feeling, because you didn’t have to walk down the street thinking that he would come around the corner.”
Reece said it was “nice to know he was dead”.
But he added: “It didn’t stop side issues, you know, we often woke up crying (saying) ‘where’s mom?’.”
Mrs. Sands befriended Pleasted after she moved into the estate, as he would sit outside the kiosks.
“I thought he was a nice old man,” she said.
“I cooked for him, took care of him, always kept him company when I had time.”
Little did she know that Pleasted had changed his name to Robin Moult after receiving 24 convictions for 24 sex crimes over three decades.
Pleasted offered to give her eldest a job as a newspaper sorter at the store, but instead she groomed him and sought access to the twins.
The three would go to his flat, until the twins told their mother that they had been sexually assaulted by him.
A week later, her eldest revealed that the same thing had happened to him.
Pleasted was arrested and charged with misdemeanor charges against Mrs Sands’ sons, but while he awaited trial, the judge granted him bail and said he could return to the estate.
Mrs. Sands decided to go around and ask him to plead guilty to spare her children the ordeal, but when she was in his apartment she “realized I’d made a big mistake”.
“He was not remorseful in any way,” she said.
“He said ‘your kids are lying’. The whole world froze. I had the knife in my left hand and I remember him trying to grab it.”
She claims she had no intention of killing Pleasted.
A few hours later, she turned herself in at a police station with her bloodstained knife and clothing.
The judge in the trial later said he didn’t believe she had “thought rationally about what taking a knife might lead to”, but added, “I’m sure the possibility of using it was in her mind. “
Ms Sands was initially jailed for three and a half years, but the Court of Appeal judges ruled that this was too lenient as she had not called emergency services to try to save him.
She said her children were “angry with me” and her time inside was “terrible for them”.
She now feels remorse and says, “I bring life to the world. It never occurred to me that I would be guilty of taking life from the world.”
She was finally released in 2018 and her sons have managed to rebuild their relationship with her.
The boys say they regretted revealing the abuse as children.
“If we’d all kept our mouths shut, we’d have had our mom and we’d have gone shopping, gone to the movies, done what a normal 12-year-old would do,” says Bradley.
But they now say they realize that it is important that victims speak out.
“It gets tough, but it gets better,” Reece said, and Alfie added, “You always have to come forward.”