Sheffield mum could face whole life tariff for killing two of her children

A Sheffield mum due to be sentenced today for killing two of her children has been warned that she could face a whole life tariff for the crime.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 12:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 6:47 am

Sarah Barrass, aged 35, of Gregg House Road, Shiregreen, is to be sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court today with family member Brandon Machin, 39, who has been warned he faces the same fate.

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The pair have admitted killing Barrass’ sons Blake, 14 and Tristan, 13.

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Sarah Barrass and Brandon Machin

They have also admitted conspiracy to murder four other children and five counts of attempted murder against four children.

Emergency services were called to Barrass’ home on May 24 after concerns were raised for the occupants, and Blake and Tristan were rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital but were pronounced dead a short time later.

When Barrass and Machin admitted the offences during a hearing in Sheffield in September, the Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, told the pair that they may be facing a whole life sentence.

He said: “I have little doubt that each of you, in due course, will be sentenced to several terms of life imprisonment.

“This may be a case, and it’s a matter for the sentencing judge, where a whole life order is imposed.

“No words of mine can ever fully reflect the enormity of what you have both done.”

A number of South Yorkshire criminals are currently serving whole life tariffs.

In February 2018, Ian Birley was sentenced to a whole life term for murdering 65-year-old John Gogarty, at his Wombwell home, Barnsley.

Birley struck 18 months after he had been released from prison for another murder.

The killer was out on licence after serving his sentence for a 1995 murder, when he attacked Mr Gogarty – stabbing him 69 times.

He and an accomplice attacked their victim during a robbery to pay a drugs debt.

Arthur Hutchinson received a whole life tariff for one of Sheffield’s most notorious crimes – the murders of three members of the same family at their home on Dore Road, Dore.

Basil Laitner, 59; his doctor wife, Avril, 55 and son Richard were stabbed to death on October 23, 1983 after a family wedding hosted in a marquee in the grounds of their home.

A woman was also repeatedly raped before Hutchinson went on the run.

In 1989, killer Anthony Arkwright was sentenced to a whole life tariff for a 56-hour killing spree in which he disembowelled three victims in Wath-upon-Dearne, Rotherham.

And Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, who was arrested in Broomhall, Sheffield, is serving a whole life tariff for murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven others between 1975 and 1980.