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, in an apparent effort to stop them being taken into care.
Barrass, 35, and Machin, 39, were today both jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 35 years behind bars. They will be in their seventies before they can apply for parole.
The court heard two killers had come of 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.
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.
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.’
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.’
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.’ (DailyMail)