Incestuous Sheffield couple who killed children spend first night of 35-year sentence behind bars

An incestuous couple from Sheffield who killed two of their six children have spent the first night of a 35-year jail sentence behind bars.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 8:38 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 8:38 am

Although Sarah Barrass and Brandon Machin have been locked up since May following the deaths of two of their children, they were sentenced yesterday and now know that they must spend a minimum of 35 years behind bars before they can ever be considered for parole.

The couple, who killed two of their two children and plotted to kill the other four amid fears they would be taken into care, had been warned that they faced a rare whole-life tariff ahead of yesterday’s sentencing hearing.

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Sarah Barrass and Brandon Machin

But instead, Mr Justice Goss jailed them for life with a minimum term of 35 years – one of the longest sentences ever handed down in South Yorkshire.

Barrass, 35 and her 39-year-old half brother, Machin, strangled their two eldest children - Tristan, 13, and Blake Barrass, 14 - before ensuring their certain deaths by placing bin bags over their heads.

The day before they killed their sons they had forced the teenagers, as well as two more of their children, to take tablets gathered from around the family home in Gregg House Road, Shiregreen.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Barrass and Machin had both expected the mixture, which included prescribed ADHD medication, to end their lives.

But when that failed, they killed Tristan and Blake before attempting to drown another child in the bath.

Barrass had planned to kill herself after killing her children.

Sentencing the killers, Mr Justice James Goss told Barrass: "You considered your love for them and fear of being parted from them entitled you to take their lives as well as your own."

Prosecutor Kama Melly QC told Sheffield Crown Court that to the outside world it appeared that Barrass and her children lived relatively ordinary lives.

"The picture of the Sarah Barrass household prior to the events in 2019 was, to the outside world, a household of a loving single mum with six children, heavily supported by her brother Brandon Machin," she said.

"In fact, unbeknown to everyone but the defendants, Brandon Machin was in a sexual relationship with his half-sister, Sarah Barrass, and he was the father of all six children.

"The children believed and even told officers at the scene that their father was dead, he having died in the Second World War."