The incestous Sheffield parents who strangled their two sons in evil murder plot: One year on

Today marks exactly one year since an incestuous Sheffield couple murdered two of their children in a sickening plot that sent shockwaves through the city.

Sunday, 24th May 2020, 2:58 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th May 2020, 2:59 pm

Sheffield is still reeling from the heinous crime which saw deranged Sarah Barrass and Brandon Machin strangle sons Tristan Barrass, 13, and Blake Barrass, 14, before placing bin bags over the boys’ heads in a property in Shiregreen on May 24 2019.

Emergency services were called to the house on Gregg House Road at around 7.30am that morning before an air ambulance landed in the grounds of nearby Hartley Brook Primary Academy.

Rumours of a mass shooting circulated on social media before the truth came to light- residents could never have imagined the horrors that took place behind the doors of the family home.

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Barrass and Machin were sentenced to life for murder, with a minimum of 35 years in prison.

Six children in total were retrieved from the property and taken to hospital, where Tristan and Blake later died.

The garden was soon overflowing with balloons, flowers and tributes left by grief-stricken residents, who described the children as ‘two beautiful boys’.

Five months later, prosecutor Kama Melly QC would tell Sheffield Crown Court that visitors to the house would hear Barrass tell her children: "I gave you life, I can take it away."

And the 35-year-old was true to her word- hatching a plan along with half-brother Brandon Machin, 39, to take the lives of her six children after they decided they were ‘better off dead than in care’.

Tristan and Blake died in hospital after being strangled by the deranged couple.

Prior to the killings, the couple, who were in a incestuous relationship, had given four of the children tablets against their will in an attempt to poison them.

Barrass sent messages and made social media postings overnight claiming that the youngsters were suffering from a sickness bug.

But when she realised that the tablets had not had the effect she wanted, she began to search for information on the internet about alternative methods of murdering her children- including suffocating, strangulation and drowning.

She then called Machin to tell him that their sick plot had failed.

Barrass and Machin first strangled Blake, then Tristan, before placing bin bags over their heads to ensure their certain death.

Barrass had strangled Tristan by wrapping her dressing gown cord around his neck and pulling on it for around three minutes, while Machin strangled Blake with his hands.

Following the murders and the attempted murder of a younger child who they attempted to drown in the bath, Barrass took the surviving children to the bedroom where she called the police.

Barrass and Machin were arrested at the scene and in police custody, Barrass initially placed responsibility for the murders in Machin’s hands.

The couple both later pleaded guilty to the murders of Blake and Tristan, the conspiracy to murder all six of their children, and the attempted murder of Blake, Tristan and another of their children at an earlier hearing.

On November 12 2019, Barrass and Machin were jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 35 years behind bars.

Their sentences were among the longest ever handed down in Sheffield.

Speaking after the couple were jailed, Edmund Hulbert from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “This was an appalling crime in which two young lives were lost, and a family torn apart, leaving a community in shock.

“Two of the surviving children witnessed their older siblings being attacked and the trauma that all the children have experienced, and will continue to experience, is unimaginable.”

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