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  1. ITV Report

Mother who murdered sons 'over fears they would end up in care' jailed for 35 years

Sarah Barrass, 35, and family member Brandon Machin, 39, killed Tristan, 13, and Blake Barrass, 14, in Sheffield on May 24. Credit: PA

A mother who murdered two of her sons and tried to kill four of her other children has been jailed for 35 years.

Sarah Barrass, 35, and Brandon Machin, 39, strangled Tristan, 13, and Blake Barrass, 14, in Sheffield on May 24.

Sheffield Crown Court heard on Tuesday how, prior to the killings, Barrass and Machin had given four of her children - including Tristan and Blake - tablets against their will.

The pair also tried to kill one of Barrass' children by attempting to drown them in a bath.

A judge ruled that Barrass and Machin should both be jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years.

She tried to kill her children over fears they could be taken into care.

Barrass and Machin admitted conspiracy to murder six of the female defendant's children, including Tristan and Blake, and five counts of attempted murder.

It can now be reported that Machin is Barrass's half-brother and the father of the six children

Blake and Tristan Barrass were killed. Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Prosecutor Kama Melly QC said: “Visitors to Miss Barrass’s house would hear her tell the boys ‘I gave you life, I can take it away’.

“Speaking to the boys in that way was described as an everyday thing.”

Miss Melly said: “None of the children wanted to take the tablets but were forced to do so.

“The defendants expected the tablets to kill the children overnight.”

When she realised the tablets had not had the effect she wanted, she began to search for information on the internet about alternative methods of murdering her children.

The court heard that Barrass sent messages and made social media posts overnight claiming that they were suffering from a sickness bug. She then called Machin to tell him that their sick plot had failed, the court heard.

Miss Melly went on: "They decided the children were better off dead than in care and he said he would help Sarah Barrass to the best of his ability."

Barrass and Machin then went on to strangle Blake and Tristan to death.

The attempted murders of Tristan, Blake and two other children took place on May 23. Barrass and Machin attempted to murder one of these children again a day later.

According to the charges, the conspiracy to murder the six children took place between May 14 and May 20.

During her plea hearing earlier this year, Barrass was warned that a whole-life jail sentence could be imposed on her.