“I never dreamt I’d be capable. I have no pride in it, but at least I know he can’t hurt anyone else. I’m not a bad person, but I know I did a bad thing. I’ve never denied it and I’ve been punished. I’d never kill again. I don’t see myself as a murderer,” Sarah Sands confessed after her release from prison, where she had been serving time since 2015.
What happened to Sarah Sands and her family is something we would never want to live through. It seems obvious, but it’s impossible not to put yourself in her shoes.
Her suffering began in 2014 after she learned of the record of abuse of her neighbor named Michael Pleasted, 77.
“I did what any mother would do,” she confessed after her release from prison, where she was serving time for attacking and killing Pleasted, the man who abused her son.
The photograph shows Sands at the time of her guilty plea.
Across the street, authorities revealed that the older man had 24 convictions for sex crimes. He had even changed his name to avoid detection so he could continue to abuse.
“I never dreamt I’d be capable. I have no pride in it, but at least I know he can’t hurt anyone else. I’m not a bad person, but I know I did a bad thing. I’ve never denied it and I’ve been punished. I’d never kill again. I don’t see myself as a murderer. But I don’t regret what I did. I was a mum desperate to protect my children”.
–confesses Sarah to The Sun–
The mother-of-five had learned in early 2014 that her neighbor had sexually abused her son Bradley. At the time, the elderly man had approached the 12-year-old boy to offer him a job in a shop where he was a volunteer.
She went to the authorities, the police, and social services, but no one listened.
Sarah and Bradley thought it was a good way for him to earn money, get started in the world of work, and gain independence.
There was no reason to distrust “Mick”.
Gradually, as the woman confesses, the boy lost interest in the job. Within days, Sarah learned that the older man had been accused of sexually abusing two children she knew. Bradley, at the time, denied that he had been abused. They asked everywhere for help, but no one listened.
Soon after, her son collapsed in front of her. He confessed to being abused.
The police knew all about it, but they still let Mick go home, without a fair conviction and free to continue his misdeeds. Sarah took justice into her own hands.
“I found him pulling out his hair, rocking, shaking and crying. He kept saying, ‘I should have told you before – that could have stopped him from getting those younger boys’. He was attacked at the shop and his house. I felt sick and heartbroken.
I drank two bottles of wine, returned to my old flat and knelt on the floor holding a photo of the kids, screaming. I hadn’t been able to cry before – Bradley was always around. The guilt I felt for not protecting him overwhelmed me. That is when I picked up the knife and went to Mick’s.
I wanted to persuade him to plead guilty so Bradley would not have to testify. Mick opened the door and smirked. He was cocky and abrupt. He wouldn’t listen to me. He was cold. A different man to the man who’d been my friendly neighbor. I poked him in his front with the knife and he grabbed me. I lost control. I couldn’t let anyone else get hurt, someone had to protect people”.
–Sarah told The Sun–
The kitchen knife was used eight times to take justice.
Sarah was later caught on camera and confessed the crime in tears to the police. She was sentenced to four years in prison and, once out, she said she has no regrets and has received full support from her family. People understood her case, and many put themselves in her shoes. Many would do the same without thinking about it.
Bradley is now 19 years old and has come out of anonymity to share his experience as a victim, as well as helping his mother write a book entitled “Loss of Control”.