A judge at the Old Bailey court has sentenced a mother of five, Sarah Sands, to three-and-a-half years in jail for manslaughter after she stabbed the victim, 77-year-old convicted paedophile named Michael Pleasted, to death. Although Sands was earlier cleared of the charges of murder in July, she was found guilty of manslaughter by reason of loss of control on Tuesday.
The court record states that Sarah stabbed her neighbour, Pleasted, eight times at his flat in Canning Town, east London, on 28 November 2014. Sands’ actions were triggered weeks after hearing that Pleasted had sexually abused three children. According to the decision announced by Judge Nicholas Cooke QC, he admitted that it was a “truly exceptional case” so he had reduced her sentence from seven years, taking into consideration her position as a single mother.
Judge Cooke alleged that Sands’s case was truly unique because she had lost control rather than taken the law into her own hands and engaged in “vigilante conduct.” He explained that “there must never be the slightest encouragement for mob rule.” Giving reason for his decision to lessen the number of years to be spent in jail, the judge went on: “this was a case in which the defendant promptly gave herself up to the police in a highly stressed state, never disputed responsibility for the killing as a matter of fact, did not take the opportunity to get rid of evidence and demonstrated remorse.”
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