'Our hearts are broken': Sheffield school says children killed in Killamarsh had bright futures ahead of them

A Sheffield secondary school has paid a moving tribute to the children tragically killed in Killamarsh a few days ago, saying that they ‘had bright futures ahead of them’.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 3:20 pm
Connie Gent, John Paul Bennett and Lacey Bennett all lost their lives in an incident in Killamarsh

Outwood Academy City in Stradbroke said the school will remember students John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett and Connie Gent, both aged 11, who lost their lives along with John Paul and Lacey’s mum, Terri Harris, 35.

They were found dead in a house in Chandos Crescent at around 7.30am on Sunday, September 19.

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A man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and remains in custody today.

In a statement, the school said Lacey and Connie, who is from Sheffield, had just embarked on their secondary school journey with them and ‘already made a positive impression on everyone they came into contact with’.

And John Paul was a ‘popular’ and ‘polite young man’, and well liked by staff and had a close-knit group of friends.

The school said: “We are all devastated at the loss of three of our students; John Paul Bennett, Lacey Bennett and Connie Gent.

“Our hearts are broken after this weekend's tragic news, and we would like to offer our deepest sympathies and condolences on behalf of everyone at Outwood Academy City to the families of those affected.

“The children had bright futures ahead of them but sadly none of us will get to see this. The school community will remember them fondly.

“It is difficult to process the news, but the memories we have of John Paul, Lacey and Connie will live on forever at the school.”

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John, Lacey and Connie were all pupils at Outwood Academy City and attended Woodhouse West Primary School when they were younger.

Both schools were closed yesterday as a mark of respect and to allow shocked staff and children to mourn.

Outwood reopened at the delayed time of 10.30am today.

The school added: “Our school community is shocked and we are all grieving together. Specialist support is available in school for anyone who needs it and we are thankful to the support we have received from the Police, Sheffield City Council and the wider community.

“We are working closely with Woodhouse West Primary who have been equally as affected by this tragic event and wish to thank them for their support.

“We will remember John Paul, Lacey and Connie fondly and the significant contributions they made to Outwood Academy City in their time with us.

“Our community is hurting right now, but as we often say, we are a family at Outwood Academy City and we will be doing everything that we can to support our students, staff and families during this traumatic time."

Flowers were left outside the secondary school in memory of the three murder victims, with other floral tributes placed at the crime scene.

There remained a heavy police presence in Killamarsh yesterday as detectives continued to piece together the full circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

Hundreds gathered at a community vigil in Killamarsh last night in the wake of the murder.