Damien Bendall: Man accused of Killamarsh murders prepares for next court hearing

The man accused of murdering a woman and three children in Killamarsh is preparing for his next court hearing.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 4:35 pm

Damien Bendall, aged 31, is accused of killing a mum, her two children and one of their friends in an attack at a property on Chandos Crescent, in September.

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Damien Bendall is charged with four counts of murder after the bodies of John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, their mother Terri Harris, 35, plus Lacey's friend Connie Gent, 11, were discovered at a property in Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, Derbyshire. PICTURE: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Police made the discovery after responding to safety concerns.

Bendall, who is remanded in custody at HMP Wakefield, was told at an earlier court hearing that a trial date of March 1, 2022, has been set.

A review of the case is to be held on November 26 at Nottingham Crown Court.

Bendall has not yet entered any pleas.

Top L-R: Terri Harris and John Paul Bennett Bottom L-R: Connie Gent and Lacey Bennett

Terri Harris and her two children had recently moved to Killamarsh from Woodhouse in Sheffield, which is where Connie lived with her family.

The three children all attended Outwood Academy City in Stradbroke, Sheffield.

Before that they were pupils at Woodhouse West Primary in Woodhouse.

The families of Terri and the children paid heartfelt tributes in the wake of their deaths.

Jason Bennett, father to John Paul and Lacey, said: “Life will never be the same again.

“My son John was absolutely my mini me. Loving, fiery, funny and passionate with the most beautiful caring heart you could find. Behind his tough exterior he was the most loving son you could wish for. His love for his mum was amazing. He just wanted everyone to be happy.

“Lacey was my TikTok queen, creating dance after dance. Lacey also had another obsession, since Jack Grealish joined Man City she has become totally besotted with him, with a room full of Jack Grealish photos. Man City was her new favourite team.”

Kerry Shelton, Connie’s mum, said: “Anyone who knows Connie knows just how special she is. Connie had an amazing imagination and was always ready to put on a show, especially at Christmas when she would write plays to act out with her brothers and sister. At birthdays, Halloween or at any given chance Connie would be organising, making or baking. She always made things so special.”

Connie’s Dad, Charles Gent, said: “The pain is indescribable. I wake up every morning hoping this has all been a terrible nightmare, but it's not.

“Connie was an absolute superstar in every way. She had a gift, if someone was down, she could instantly make them feel ok. She lit up every room she went in and meant something to everyone she came across, even in hard times. Connie had the ability to keep everyone smiling.”

Terri’s parents, Angela Smith and Lawrence Harris, issued a joint statement in honour of their daughter.

They said: “Our Terri, our daughter, our world, our everything. From the day she was born she was our princess and remained so until she was cruelly taken from us.

“She was an amazing mum; her babies were her world.

“Terri would put herself out not just for her family and friends but anyone who needed her help. She absolutely loved her work as a care worker and would go above and beyond for people she cared for.”