The incestuous couple who killed two of their six children learned their fate Tuesday: Sarah Barrass and Brandon Machin, half-siblings, were both sentenced to life in prison, the Guardian reports. Barrass and Machin, who live in England, were afraid their children were going to be taken into care when they strangled Tristan and Blake Barrass, ages 13 and 14, in May. Barrass, 35, and Machin, 39, first forced their four oldest children to take a number of pills used to treat ADHD; when that only made the children sick, Barrass searched online for other ways to kill them before ultimately strangling Tristan with a cord from her dressing gown as Machin strangled Blake with his hands. They then placed trash bags over the teens' heads to suffocate them, and also tried to kill one of their younger children by drowning the child in a bathtub.
"The six children lived alone with their mother, Sarah Barrass," the prosecutor explained in court. "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." The children believed their father had been killed in a war, but in reality, Machin, who shares a mother with Barrass, was the father of them all. Barrass and Machin became concerned their incestuous relationship would be found out, the BBC reports. "They decided the children were better off dead than in care," the prosecutor said. Police say Barrass told them she had planned to kill herself after her children were dead. She and Machin must serve a minimum of 35 years behind bars. Two of the surviving children are under age 13, and the other two are under age 3. (Read more murder stories.)