A look into the past of convicted paedophile stabbed to death in Silvertown

Sarah Sands is caught on CCTV, on the night of Michael Pleasted's death, in the block of flats where

Sarah Sands is caught on CCTV, on the night of Michael Pleasted's death, in the block of flats where he lived - Credit: MPS

A pensioner who was stabbed to death in his Silvertown home was a convicted paedophile with 24 sexual assaults against children on his record.

Drew Road in Silvertown

Drew Road in Silvertown - Credit: Archant

Michael Pleasted, 77, had served sentences of between nine months and six years for his crimes that were spread over a period of three decades.

Pleasted, who was originally known as Robin Moult, lived in a council flat on the Drew Road estate from 1998 and worked as a volunteer at a local community centre.

When Pleasted approached them for housing, Newham Council said they were not informed about his past as he was under no lawful obligation to declare his convictions.

They were also not aware he had changed his name.

However, in 2012, the council said they were alerted to Pleasted being in contact with a teenager who had reportedly been helping him at his home.

But no allegations were put forward by the youngster or his family during interviews, so no criminal investigation took place.

Most Read

Following on from this incident, Pleasted was asked to carry out a Criminal Records Bureau Check by the local community centre where he volunteered, but he refused.

Altogether, Newham Council say they contacted the Met Police three times over the pensioner but no information on his criminal history was provided.

A Met spokeswoman confirmed they had been contacted by Newham Council in 2012 and had checked for Pleasted’s name on the Sex Offenders Register but did not find anything as his crimes were committed before the register was introduced.

The Met added that because there was no criminal allegation and the council did not have Pleasted’s consent they could not have searched the Police National Computer for his previous crimes, although they were recorded on this system.

In 2014, Pleasted was charged with sexually assaulting two boys but police said there was “no requirement” to share information on his past with the council because he was not named on the Sex Offenders Register.

Newham Council told the Recorder that they only found out about Pleasted’s past after his death, adding: “No council ever wants to put children at risk and based on the information we knew at the time, there was nothing we could have done to prevent this situation from happening.”

Last week, Sarah Sands, 32, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for stabbing Pleasted to death in Drew Road, last November.

She was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter, by reason of loss of control, in July.

She stabbed the pensioner eight times at his home following a confrontation over claims he had abused young boys.

During the sentencing, Judge Nicholas Cooke QC said the case was “truly exceptional” and reduced Sands’ sentence from seven years to three-and-a-half years, taking her position as a single mother into consideration.

Following the incident, neighbours have since opened up about their shock, claiming they were horrified to find out the convicted paedophile was living on the estate.

One resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I used to say hello to him whenever he was walking about with his dogs.

“It is just crazy because there are so many kids around and this just makes you worry about who you’re living next to. She (Sands) committed a serious crime and for this she needs to serve time but all of my sympathies are with her and I hope she is released sooner rather than later.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter