tv The Big Cases BBC News January 9, 2023 11:30pm-12:01am GMT
a woman has beenjailed for stabbing to death a convicted paedophile. paedophiles tear lives apart. it's what they do. her children had been sexually abused. were you glad he was dead? yeah. oh, yeah. definitely. she stabbed michael pleasted repeatedly. he bled to death. 20 minutes later, she re—emerged. you can see the knife.
i bring life into the world. it never occurred to me that i would be guilty of taking life out of the world. did a man need to die? did children need to be hurt for the truth to come out? i had the knife in my left hand and i remember him trying to grab it. i had taken the law into my own hands, i had done that. in 2014, sarah sands, a single mum, and her young sons moved into their first proper home — a maisonette on this estate.
her elder son bradley wasn't much older than his twin brothers alfie and reece, so from the start they were always close. the family had been on a council waiting list for years, and sarah hoped their new home would finally give the boys a sense of security as they moved into secondary education. it was special to us, it was mine and my boys�*, it was our fresh start. we poured a lot of love into that little place, it was ours, we was happy, the kids were settling great at school. we could have been happy there, i... we could have been happy there. took everything from me... sarah sands became
friendly with a pensioner in a neighbouring block. michael pleasted was 77 and lived on his own. i genuinely thought he was just a lovely old man. i would watch him on the estate. pleased to see everyone, help everyone. everybody said hi to him, he was easygoing, always had something nice to say. yeah, just a nice man. absolutely no red flags whatsoever. cooked for him, looked after him, always kept him company when i had the time. so many regrets. i wish i didn't move here. i wish i'd never said hello. i suppose, in one way, it's like saying you wish you weren't kind and you wish you'd been mean and you wish you'd been ignorant, and you
wish you'd been, you know... a few of the children had saturdayjobs with him, just helping him out at the back of the shop, working in the corner shop, doing the papers in the morning, that kind of thing. they had saturdayjobs with him and he asked if it would be all right if brad could help out. brad was so excited, bless him. so excited. he then invited them back to his flat, where the assaults took place. it was all part of his grooming, but she was unaware, she wasjust looking at him as an old man who was lonely in the community. he definitely caught everyone off guard, definitely. do you think now he was targeting brad? yep. she'd given food to the man that had sexually assaulted her children, she had kind of welcomed
him into herfamily. he was, in all intents and purposes, grooming her children. he allowed the children, even at the young age they were, to work in his bric—a—brac shop at the back of a newsagents in the estate where they lived. 12—year—old bradley and the twins, who were 11, told her that pleasted had sexually abused them. still to this day, there are no words to describe how it eats you up from the inside out. he'd ripped my family apart, that's what he'd done. michael pleasted was arrested and charged with offences against her boys. while he was awaiting trial, he was allowed back on the estate. sarah sands couldn't believe a judge had agreed to let him return to the neighbourhood. he was given bail
by the courts. i can't comment on that decision because i wasn't involved, but from a personal level, i still don't understand why the courts gave him bail, and back to his home address, which was very close to where sarah and herfamily lived, which would have put them again under more stress and pressure, and more fear that there might be more repercussions. he'd ruined my life and he'd tried to take away the most precious thing in my life. them babies, we all know they're not going to wake up one day and this didn't happen. i'm never going to be able to take it away from them when they're screaming in the middle of the night. i can't say, "oh, it was just a dream." because it wasn't, he was a walking nightmare. it's horrendous, the guilt, the pain, the sheer shame. it's myjob to protect them.
don't know what i was doing there. it was a ridiculous... i didn't... it just. .. i realised i'd made a huge mistake. i was frightened, absolutely petrified. he had no fear. he was not remorseful in any way, shape or form. at first, he was very much, "0h, your children are lying." i was just standing there, everything froze, the whole world froze, there wasn't a world, ijust froze. once he realised i wasn't listening to the drool that was coming out of his mouth, because we both know my children ain't lying... the police aren't here any
more, you ain't got nobody to justify it to, we both know that you're lying. i didn't say that but i'm sure the look on my face was literally telling him that, because at the same time, hejust stopped... jumped out of his chair, went over to the window and then came towards me, and by that time, i had the knife in my left hand and i remember him trying to grab it. and then i remember leaving. yeah. 20 minutes later, she emerged. you can see the knife. she had stabbed michael pleasted eight times. he bled to death.
i didn't intend for it to end the way that it did. you didn't intend to kill him? no. hours later, she handed herself in to the police. i saw a very frightened, vulnerable woman. you could tell that she was scared. she came to the police station, she denied murder and obviously gave an explanation of what had happened and why it had happened, from her point of view. they absolutely have the right to demand answers from me. i had taken the law into my own
hands, i had done that. i've always been raised, my boys have always been raised to take responsibility for their actions. but i also understood this is the process that should have happened to michael pleasted. this is the process. when you learned what your mum had done, and that this man was now dead, because she had killed him...? like, so what? good. i ain't going to deny it. he was released on bail, what would make you think he is not going to go, i know i'm going to get caught and do time, let me go and get four or five more kids? it didn't stop any afterthoughts. we'd often wake up crying, going, "where's mum?" and then the nightmares. but it was nice knowing that he was dead. if we'd have known he was locked away, i'm sure that would have been just as satisfying. but obviously, he wasn't. so were you glad he was dead? yeah. oh, yeah. definitely.
if this guy's still walking about and i know what he has done to me, and he's still about, the government and so on... he'd be out doing it again. obviously, it doesn't. .. the nightmares and stuff, it. doesn't really slow them down but it does add more of a sense of security, because you - don't have to walk down the street thinking... i he's going to come round that corner. and he literally lived across the road from us. i could see the man's house, i could open that window over there and i'd see his house across the road. lots of tears, certainly, when she was giving evidence and when the verdicts were read out. at the old bailey, a woman has beenjailed for three _ and a half years for stabbingl to death an elderly neighbour who was a convicted paedophile. sarah sands was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder on the grounds that she'd lost control,
but some questioned whether her sentence was too lenient, and the court of appeal was asked to make a ruling. the offender took with her to the scene a knife, which was used in the infliction of fatal injuries. when the jury were sure that at the time she intended to cause at least serious grievous bodily harm. she did take some steps to cover her tracks. she had changed her clothing. she appears to have attempted to avoid her fingerprints being left at the scene. the offender, having fatally stabbed the deceased, did nothing to assist him in that she did not call the emergency services. seven and a half years — that is the sentence that will be substituted
for the sentence of 42 months. there were times in the beginning of going to prison i was suicidal. absolutely suicidal. and i think i cried every day for about six months. every single day, i didn't miss a day. even in that state, i was still calling them in the morning to say good morning, calling them after school to ask how their day went, calling them in the evening to say good night before they went to bed. we wrote letters, my mum never missed a visit. you go through several gates and empty out your pockets, they pat all your arms and legs, every inch of your body. you couldn't bring anything in even if you wanted to. open your mouth, move yourl tongue up to make sure you're not hiding something. having absolutely no say in what happens to them as children — you have no say. in holloway, you literally get one hour. so having them sitting there, my little one will be here,
trying to play with my hair, the boys will be like, "this happened!" everyone wants to talk to their mummy at the same time. as soon as they left, oh, as soon as they left... did you feel, though, sarah — did you feel remorse? absolutely. and why did you feel remorse? i bring life into the world. it never occurred to me that i would be guilty of taking life out of the world. single mother, you know, trying to raise her children the best way she could. she hadn't had it easy in life. i'm not condoning what she did, because you can't take the law into your own hands. she should have allowed
justice to take its place, which was happening. what sarah sands and none of her neighbours knew was that the man she had killed, the man accused of abusing her children, was a convicted paedophile who had changed his identity to try to bury his past. his original name was robin moult, and this is a newspaper report of his first case dating back to 1970. he had 2a convictions for sex offending. he had served jail terms for his crimes which spanned three decades. not even the local council was aware of this when it housed him in a block overlooking a primary school. even without knowing pleasted's history, sarah sands had tried to stop him living back on the estate after he was charged with the offences against her sons.
i did go through all the authorities... it's the government's fault at the end of the day- what happened — it's entirely their fault. i but i have to take responsibility... you've got to take - responsibility, but you've also got to take their responsibility. - if they did theirjob properly, | this wouldn't have happened. this is their fault because, j at the very end of the day, if they did theirjobs, we wouldn't be - here talking to you. if he was in prison after 24 convictions, then we wouldn't be sitting here today. personally, i have dealt with over 150 murders. this case particularly has stuck with me. i know she's now out of prison trying to rebuild her life, that's brilliant. i've lived around here - for years, before you came. that man was living on thel estate for how many years? and no—one had a clue. i didn't have a clue. - on an estate full of kids, i with a school at the end of the road, for how many years?
we were all living amongst it. he used to watch my dogs for me outside the shop. i he had children working for him every saturday. thought nothing of it — - look after the dog, it's only old mick, nothing of it. yeah, yeah. good to see a familiar face. a crime's a crime, people look at it like it's a bad thing, but really and truly, you was never a bad person, do you know what i mean? you're back now, that's what matters. lam. that is what matters, definitely. thatjudge, if they'd have given him a longer sentence for his first crimes, if they had just done what they were meant to do... ..we would've been good. their lives would have been so different. instead, they had a mum in prison for years, you know? we're good.
you're always good. _ you're always going to be good. yeah. they had a mum that loved them and cared for them. i they definitely have that. how has what's happened in the family affected them, affected your relationship with them? we're closer than ever. closer than ever. nothing was ever going to stop me being their mum. i don't think i'm ever not going to baby them. i don't think it matters to me what age they're going to be! punk rock music. you only have one mum. the rest of the world you have
to be grown up and go to work and you got responsibilities. you have all that. your mum is the only one, she's always going to put that wing over you. our relationships of course had cracks. i had so much to catch up on. they went through so much, you know? there were cracks that we had to work on, but you couldn't break the bond, you couldn't. paedophilia is a pandemic. and, you know, we've got to get change. sarah has nowjoined others who are campaigning for tighter restrictions on sex offenders who change their names. here at westminster, meeting the labour mp sarah champion.
hello, i'm sarah. i know you're sarah as well! for me, there is a gaping hole in child protection. what i found most curious but worrying when i started looking into the restrictions and the conditions put on sex offenders, it's up to them to tell the police they've changed their name. yeah. so if they don't, if they change it and theyjust disappear, there is literally no way until they reoffend that the police can track them down. they could go to probation, change their name the next day, you don't know they're missing. exactly. they could be anywhere in the world within three weeks. the government says that offenders are legally bound to notify the authorities of any name change. but the campaigners are concerned that some are simply ignoring this, and using their new identities to get through dbs checks, which are needed for certain roles and which reveal criminal convictions.
they are systematically changing their names, some in prison, so they are able to create a new identity. but once they've changed their name, they are able to get a new driving licence in that name, a new passport in that name, and that enables them to get a new dbs check, which will be a clean dbs check. and what we're finding is these people are then going into schools, into places with young people, into places with vulnerable people, in positions of trust, and they are exploiting that in the most horrific ways. we are an example of. what happens when laws like that aren't imposed. they allowed him to change his name, he was within - 500 feet of a school, - he had children employees. theyjust let him on the streets. l if you are being abused or have been abused, try and talk. try and talk. if you don't speak up, whoever the man or woman that's abusing you or has abused you, they'll move onto someone else. the sooner you say it, the sooner you could potentially save more people
from being in the same pain that you're feeling. ifeel like it's better to get yourself out of that situation and talk as well, otherwise you're just putting yourself through worse and worse. you're eating yourself alive. when i went in, i was absolutely very bitter towards the authorities, towards the judge that had given him bail. that was going to eat me alive, it was eating me alive. for me to help build them up and to show them it's possible, i had to do it first. the real me, the strong version of me, she's got a lot more light now. yeah, she breathes a lot better.
hello. more wind and rain coming tojust about all on tuesday. the dry days have been very hard to find for some of late. take odiham in hampshire. this is where we saw the driest conditions during the summer. 46 days without rain in the last 24 hours, only two have been completely dry and only two in the last 38 draws in cornwall. wet is relative to average. so far this month though has been in gwyneth and i reckon
by the end of tuesday will have seen an entire month's worth of rainfall in the first ten days. and that's because here and across north—west england, where we see the wettest weather on tuesday, the greatest impacts risk of flooding up to 100 millimetres on the hills. all responsible is this weather system which has been working its way in from the west overnight. northern eastern areas are dry enough starts even a bit of a chill about with a touch of frost for one or two and some morning sunshine in northern scotland. but the morning rush hour in western england, wales and northern ireland will be thoroughly wet and increasingly windy by the end of the rush hour of that rain into eastern england centres on the scotland snow in the hills, rain continues to push its way northwards. the rain does ease off, though. it does turn dry for a time across england and wales, a little bit brighter in one, a two spot, some drizzle on the hills. there's another batch of rain coming in from the west. later, as i said, it turns windy, 40, maybe 50 mile gusts possible.
but coming in from a safe south—westerly direction, a very mild day for this stage injanuary, 10 to 14 celsius for many especially, we get some brighter breaks briefly across the south. so here's that slice of milder weather. it's contained between the heavy rain in the morning and a batch of not quite as heavy rain spreading eastwards during the first part of tuesday night into wednesday. that allows westerly winds back strengthening. but bringing in the blue colours here, an indication of cooler air. now, it will be a sunny start to wednesday across some central and eastern parts. one or two staying dry, but plenty of showers already in the west, strengthening winds, touching gale force at times. and that will drive those showers heavy with hail and thunder eastwards as we go into the afternoon. temperatures down on tuesdays, still a degree or so higher than we normally expect for the stage injanuary. cool night will follow across the north where with lighter winds, a touch of frost. but in the south, the next weather system will bring outbreaks of rain. most persistent southern counties of england and wales, gale force winds here bright enough, start further northwards in eastwards, but showers get going and spread
everything welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore, everything i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines. mass arrests in brazil after supporters of the ousted presidentjair bolsonaro storm government buildings. his successor says it was a terrorist attack. all those people who did this will be found and punished. they will realise that democracy guarantees the right to freedom and free speech. pakistan says it's received pledges of more than nine billion dollars from international donors to help its recovery from last year's devastating floods. lift off — a historic space mission has begun, as a plane launches a rocket carrying satellites from british soil for the first time. and in his latest tv