Woman who murdered her two teenage sons jailed for life

Four of Barrass' six children survived

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A woman has been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 35 years behind bars, for murdering her two teenage sons.

Sarah Barrass, 35, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court alongside co-defendant Brandon Machin, 39, who was handed a the same sentence.

Machin is Barrass' half-brother and the father of her six children.

The pair had previously admitted to killing Tristan and Blake Barrass, aged 13 and 14 respectively, at a property in Sheffield in May this year.

The court heard how they strangled the victims and placed bin bags over their heads after an earlier attempt to kill them with tablets, along with two more of Barrass’ children, failed.

The defendants had gathered a stash of pills and divided them between the eldest four children in a bid to kill them overnight – when she realised it had not worked, Barrass began to search online for other ways to murder her children.

Tristan and Blake Barrass

Barrass told police she planned to kill the younger two children and herself after the older four had died.

The four surviving children are all under 13 years old.

As well as the two counts of murder, Barrass and Machin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder six children (including Tristan and Blake) and five counts of attempted murder.

Prosecutor Kama Melly QC told the court the defendants intended to kill the children because they feared they were going to be taken into care, deciding they would be “better off dead”.

The court also heard that Barrass had threatened her children in the past, saying "I gave you life, I can take it away".

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 said: “She was, over many years, subject to sustained neglect and emotional, physical and sexual abuse.”

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