The incest murders: Parents who murdered their two sons, 13 and 14, and tried to kill their four other children are revealed as half-brother and sister as they are both jailed for life
- Sarah Barrass said she'd rather kill children than have them taken into care
- She tried to poison two sons before fatally injuring them by strangulation
- Barrass and the children's father, Brandon Machin, have now been jailed for life
- The killer pair were half-brother and sister and related through their mother
- Traumatised surviving child told social worker they fear they'll become a killer too - and said they hoped parents would go to jail for '300 years'
An evil mother and her half-brother have been jailed for life for murdering their two sons and trying to kill four other children they had through an incestuous relationship.
Sarah Barrass and her half-brother Brandon Machin had six children together but tried to kill them all rather than hand the youngsters over to the care system.
The couple's two eldest sons Blake, 14 and Tristan, 13, were found lying fatally injured on their bunk beds at home in Sheffield when police arrived in May.
They had been strangled and suffocated by Barrass and Machin, while others had been drugged and held under water in the bath, in an apparent effort to stop them being taken into care.
After full details of the shocking case were outlined in court today, Barrass, 35, and Machin, 39, were both jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 35 years behind bars.
The siblings, who are related through their mother, will be in their seventies before they can apply for parole.
One of the surviving children told social workers they were 'worried they would become a murderer when they were older because that is what his mum and Brandon did' and added that they wanted their parents to go to jail for '300 years'.
Sarah Barrass and her half-brother Brandon Machin have been jailed for life for murdering two of their sons and trying to kill four of their other children
Tristan (left) and his brother Blake (right) were murdered by their mother and her half-brother Brandon Machin
The court heard two killers had come from a dysfunctional family and Machin had himself been taken into care when he was 14.
The pair embarked on a sexual relationship when he came out of care and they met up.
Social services had been involved with their family in the 1990s and concerns had been raised about the half-siblings developing a sexual relationship.
The children believed and told officers at the scene their father was dead, having died in the Second World War.
Kama Melly, prosecuting, told the court: 'The six children lived alone with their mother Sarah Barrass. 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.
'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, having died in the second world war.'
Today's revelations will add to questions from Barrass's family about why more wasn't done to protect the children sooner.
The court heard they hatched their plot to kill the children because Tristan had been accused of sexually assaulting a younger child and Barrass feared it would lead to all the children being taken from her.
In May this year, they grabbed Blake and Tristan, with Machin strangling Blake whilst Barrass strangled Tristan, using a dressing gown cord.
The pair then swapped victims and placed black bin liners over their heads 'to make sure.'
ADHD medication used by the children had been gathered up from around the 'unkempt' home that Barrass shared with her six children. She then portioned out the medication to the youngest children, who are all aged under 13.
Blake Barrass (pictured) and his brother were found dying in their beds from a sustained attack
A family friend said today: 'Blake and Tristan were two beautiful, confident and outgoing boys who both had a bright future ahead of them'
Court hears of terrible emotional toll on surviving children
In statements read to the court, the anguish suffered by the two eldest surviving children of Sarah Barrass was laid bare.
Miss Melly said their social worker revealed: 'One of them said (they were) worried (they) would become a murderer when (they were) older because that is what his mum and Brandon did.
'(They are) emotionally broken and don't know why this happened. They both want to know why and how.'
She revealed one of the other surviving children 'punches a big teddy bear to vent their frustration.'
The court heard the oldest surviving children wanted their parents to go to prison for '300 years'.
A social worker said: 'Both (the older children) are emotionally broken and don't know why this happened.
'They repeatedly ask why and how. We don't have the answers.
'The (older children) are very much confused and don't know why this happened.'
In a victim impact statement, one of the children who almost died in the bath described how both defendants tried to drown them and how they had to 'fight them off'.
The child 'doesn't like baths anymore', a court heard.
The children are now being looked after by social services. A council worker said: 'They are safe and receiving good support through this traumatic time.'
Barrass, the court heard, expected them to die during the night, making 'light-hearted' Facebook posts that the children had caught a sickness bug.
When the children survived the night Barrass called Machin at his home nearby and they carried out their murderous plan in the early morning of May 25th.
When both Blake and Tristan were dead, Barrass and Machin tried to drown one of the younger children in the bath, but he somehow managed to struggle free.
Barrass called police and tried to blame Machin for the murders of Blake and Tristan.
But when police arrived she initially told them that the boys were not in the house. It was one of the younger children who motioned to officers that the boys were dead by drawing a finger across his throat.
The younger children, despite vomiting and suffering hallucinations, survived the attempt to kill them and recovered in intensive care.
Machin later told police that the murders were Barrass's idea, claiming in interview that she said: 'They need to die now, I'd rather kill them and kill myself than lose them to care. I gave them life and I can take it away.'
Barrass later told the police in interview that she had strangled Tristan for up to three minutes whilst he shouted 'stop' and his arms and legs were thrashing.
Blake came into the room and was screaming 'Mum is killing Tristan', the court was told.
Also in police interview Barrass told how she tried to drown one of her younger children in the bath, telling horrified detectives: 'He was struggling and crying and screaming why are you trying to kill me?'
The court heard that Barrass requested help with her children from the local authority.
Miss Melly said the mother-of-six sent a message to a friend, in which she said: 'I've thought of every possible solution to this mess. Mass murder, putting them all in care, checking in to the local nut house. I love my kids too much to kill them, I can't put them into care for the same reason.'
In sentencing the pair to a minimum of 35 years, Mr Justice Goss told Sarah 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.'
Barrass had previously posted these sick messages on her Facebook page
She'd also posted this post on her Facebook page. Even her own barrister admitted her actions were 'evil and nothing but evil'
Bryan Cox QC, mitigating for Barrass, described her crimes as 'evil and nothing but evil' but said she was 'profoundly damaged by her childhood'.
He continued: 'The defendant was desperate to prevent her children being taken into care. She couldn't cope with the prospect of them being removed.'
Speaking outside court following today's sentencing, friend of the family Matt Saunders said: 'Blake and Tristan were two beautiful, confident and outgoing boys who both had a bright future ahead of them.
'They had so many friends and they lit up any room they were in, especially Tristan, who loved to dye his hair bright colours.
'Daily life will never be the same again now. The boys have left behind younger siblings, whose lives have been turned upside down. They adored their older brothers and they looked up to them.
'A piece of all our hearts died on the 24th of May 2019, which we will never get back. Blake and Tristan leave a huge empty void in our lives and we did not get the chance to say goodbye.
'We are relieved justice has been served but it should never have come to this.'
Speaking outside court this afternoon, family friend Matt Saunders said: 'It should never have come to this.'
This was the scene outside the family home following the killings earlier this year
Following the case, Sheffield City Council's John Macilwraith said: 'Our focus continues to be the wellbeing of the children from this family now in our care.
'The Sheffield Children Safeguarding Partnership has initiated a Serious Case Review (SCR) to investigate what happened.
'The national SCR panel have endorsed this and agreed that the review should go ahead locally. The council will be cooperating fully with the review and are already working to provide the relevant information.
'This is such a tragic and, we hope, isolated case that it is vital to examine every aspect in order to establish what can be learned to inform the development of future professional practice.
'We anticipate that the SCR will take up to six months, but this is subject to many factors and timescales may change.
'The most important thing is taking the necessary time to get the review right.
'We have many hundreds of families in Sheffield who are cared for by our children's services but there are always new lessons to learn, so we need to understand, alongside all partners in the city, as much as we can about why and how these tragic events happened, as much as it is ever possible to understand such a terrible act.'
Motorbikes escort the funeral cortege arriving at Grenoside Crematorium, Sheffield, prior to the funeral of Tristan and Blake Barrass
Hundreds of mourners attended Blake and Tristan's funeral. Their shared coffin was accompanied to the crematorium by a cortege of 300 motorbikes and two Lamborghini cars. The surviving children are all aged under 13
Friends and family said the brothers were both car fanatics and had been keen on motorbikes.
Motorbike owners revved their engines in respect and, as the white coffin entered the crematorium, the Ed Sheeran song Thinking Out Loud was played on loudspeakers.
There were emotional tributes from a family friend and the boys' young cousin, Storm.
She said: 'I know this is a sad time but, in my heart, I will always remember my cousins. I know they will always be waiting for me at heaven's door.'
Outside the crematorium, family friend Danielle Baines said: 'They were loved and will be truly missed.'