Killamarsh: Man charged in connection with deaths of woman and three children

·2-min read

A 31-year-old man has been charged with murdering a mother, her two children and their young friend during a sleepover at a home in Derbyshire.

Damien Bendall, the mother’s boyfriend, who lived at the property in Killamarsh where four bodies were found, was arrested at the scene on Sunday morning.

He has been charged in connection with the deaths of Harris, 35, her young daughter and son, Lacey Bennett, 11, and John Paul Bennett, 13, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, who had been staying for a sleepover.

Police were called to the house on Chandos Crescent at around 7.30am on Sunday morning amid concerns for a man – understood to be the now-charged Mr Bendall – before finding the four victims.

Mr Bendall was taken to hospital to be treated for self-inflicted injures and is now in police custody. He appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning via video link from Ripley police station.

Dressed in a prison-issue grey tracksuit, he spoke only to confirm his name, age, and address during the brief hearing.

Bendall was taken to hospital to be treated for ‘self-inflicted’ injuries, according to police (pixel8000)
Bendall was taken to hospital to be treated for ‘self-inflicted’ injuries, according to police (pixel8000)

Jason Bennett, father to John Paul and Lacey, took to social media on Tuesday night to write a tribute to his children. He wrote: “Justice will be done. Rest in peace. Night my beautiful angels. Love you to the moon and back John Bennett and Lacey Elizabeth. My world. Message me in the morning so I know you’re safe. Love you. xxx”

Speaking at the scene of the incident on Tuesday, Lacey and John Paul’s grandmother, Dianne Bennett, said she would be going to the upcoming trial and would look the accused boyfriend in the eyes.

The authorities have said that this was an isolated incident and they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths.

Police have also issued a renewed appeal for anyone with videos or dashcam footage of the incident to upload it to a secure online portal.

Detective Chief Inspector, Sally Blaiklock, who is leading the investigation said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of Terri, John Paul, Lacey and Connie – as well as the communities that have been affected by this most tragic of incidents.

“A large scene remains in place on Chandos Crescent and local residents will see an increased police presence in the area over the coming days, including patrols by officers in the local area.

“I would urge anyone who is concerned about the incident to speak to officers in the area or use the online reporting tool to pass information in confidence.

“Myself and the team of detectives are particularly keen to hear from anyone who was in Chandos Crescent between 6pm on Saturday 18 September and 7am on Sunday 19 September, as well as anyone who may have video footage of the street.

“That can include dashcam, mobile phone footage, CCTV or video doorbells.”

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