The huge question that hangs over Shiregreen after evil Sheffield mum is jailed for life

Amidst the chaos and confusion of an unfolding tragedy that was in equal parts both appalling and shocking by its nature, there was one poignant moment that showed the deep sense of heartbreak felt by people within the community of Shiregreen.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 2:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 5:14 pm
A police officer places floral tributes outside the house on Gregg House Road, Shiregreen where two boys were murdered

As police officers continued to guard a cordon in front of what would otherwise appear to be a normal, suburban family home though was now the scene of the most horrendous of crimes, a taxi pulled up and a woman got out.

She made her way quickly past the throng of reporters that had set up camp in the street, ducked under the police tape and laid a bouquet of flowers on the floor.

There was no moment of reflection as she swiftly turned and ran back to the waiting taxi with tears streaming down her face as though the sheer awfulness of what had happened meant she could not bear to be at the scene for any length of time.

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Pictured are tributes left outside a house on Gregg House Road,Shiregreen,Sheffield - Pic Steve Ellis

I did not catch her name. She could have been a relative, a friend or even a complete stranger, simply horrified by what had happened who wanted to leave her own tribute to two boys killed at the hands of their own mother and a relative.

The immediate family and friends are the ones who will be most overcome with grief.

But this sombre emotion of not even being able to look epitomised by the lady laying the flowers is one that is likely to be felt by many in the community for years to come.

Residents who I spoke to at the scene were initially shocked by what had happened. This was later replaced by a quieter, more contemplative feeling with many wondering how this could have happened on their quiet street.

Pictured are tributes left outside a house on Gregg House Road,Shiregreen - Pic Steve Ellis

Sheffield City Council is conducting a serious case review into what happened - and there will be many people keen to know if the powers that be could have done anything to intervene at an earlier stage to stop this from happening.

The fact that the causes of death have not been made public yet has, in my view, only served to feed the rumour mill with people who want to know what exactly happened within those four walls.

Consideration must also be given to what now happens to the house in which these horrific crimes took place.

The council has not revealed yet what the next move is on that. Perhaps the powers that be may consider demolishing it for fear of it becoming a macabre point of interest. You also have to ask who would now want to live in the property given its history?

Floral tributes outside the house in Shiregreen where the Barrass brothers died

Whether the building remains or not, the gravity of the crimes committed within it, will leave a permanent scar on the community.

As Sarah Barrass and Brandon Machin spend a lifetime wrestling with what they have done from behind bars, what is most important now is that the surviving children receive all the care and support they need in order to ensure they have at the very least a fair chance at living good lives.

It is also key that the memory of Blake, aged 14, and Tristan, aged 13, described by a relative as ‘two beautiful boys’ shortly after the tragedy, is remembered and respected with dignity.

Judging by how many people came out for their funerals - the cortege was led by 300 bikers and two Lamborghinis, reflecting the boys’ love of fast cars and motorcycles - it seems safe to assume that at least the good natured people of Shiregreen will ensure that they will be remembered for all the right reasons, and not just the awful way in which they came about their deaths.

Sarah Barrass and Brandon Machin
(L-R) Blake and Tristan Barrass