Killamarsh deaths: Everything we know as Damien Bendall is remanded in custody on murder charges
Damien Bendall has been remanded in custody after being charged with four counts of murder following the discovery of the bodies of a woman and three children in a house in Killamarsh, near Sheffield, at the weekend.
It comes after the grim discovery was made by officers in the Derbyshire village on Sunday.
The circumstances around the deaths are still yet to be established, with police appealing for any witnesses or anyone who may have any information which could help the investigation to come forwards.
However, new information is coming to light as the murder investigation continues and today the man arrested appeared in court and it has emerged that the woman who died may have been pregnant.
Police officers made the grim discovery of the four bodies after officers were called to Chandos Crescent over ‘concerns for safety’ of those inside a house on the street.
A police cordon has been put in place while officers continue working on the case.
Here is everything we know about the tragedy so far.
- Police were called to concerns for safety of those at a house on Chandos Crescent at around 7.25am on Sunday, September 19, 2021.
- At around 1.30pm on the same day, police made the public aware that they were dealing with a ‘serious incident’ in the town.
- There was a heavy police presence in the area throughout the day, with dozens on officers at the scene.
- On Sunday night, police confirmed that four people were sadly found dead at the house.
- It is understood that the bodies were of a woman, her two children and a best friend of one of the youngsters who was at the house for a sleepover.
- Jason Bennett is the father of two of the children and said the loss of his children had ‘absolutely broken’ his heart into ‘a million pieces’. He named the children as 11-year-old Lacey and 13-year-old John Paul and they are believed to have died alongside their mum, 35-year-old Terri Harris, and Lacey’s best friend, who has now been named as 11-year-old Connie Gent.
- Connie’s father has posted an emotional tribute to his daughter, saying his “absolute world bin taken away”.
- Floral tributes have been left outside the crime scene, where Jason visited on Monday, September 20. Tributes have also been pouring in online, including from the schools that the children attended.
- A fundraiser has been launched to help Jason Bennett pay for the funeral of his two children. It has already raised more than £15,000 and has a target of £20,000.
- Officers confirmed that a 31-year-old man had been arrested and that they had started a murder investigation.
- The man, who has been named as Damien Bendall, of Chandos Crescent, has now been charged with four counts of murder.
- He appeared in court earlier today, Wednesday, September 22, and was remanded in custody until his next court date, which is set to be on Friday, September 24.
- Damien was taken to hospital with stab wounds after his arrest. It is understood he was bleeding and had ‘self inflicted’ wounds, according to witnesses.
- He was taken to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield for medical treatment. His injuries were not life threatening.
- There are now reports that Terri, the 35-year-old mum who was found dead at the scene, may have been pregnant at the time of her death.
- It is claimed she had told friends and neighbours she was pregnant shortly before she was killed alongside her son, daughter and her daughter’s friend.
- Police say they are treating the incident as “isolated” and are not looking for anybody else at this time. A Derbyshire Constabulary spokesperson added: “Close family of the victims have now been made aware and specially trained officers are with them. We would ask that people avoid speculation and allow for space at this distressing time.”
- Police were sighted searching woodland near the crime scene on Monday afternoon.
- Investigations are continuing. Detective Chief Inspector Rob Routledge, who is leading the investigation team, said: “We would really like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the early hours of Sunday morning, or has any information which they think could help with our inquiries. No matter how small you think that information may be, please do get in touch with us. It is understandably a worrying time for the community, and we would like to thank them for their patience and understanding at this time. It was important to us that close relatives of those involved were informed before we could give further details about incident. Residents will continue to see a large police presence in the area, and patrols are being carried out for reassurance. If you do have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to speak to them.”
- Police are specifically appealing for anyone who was in the area between 9.30pm on Saturday and 7.30am on Sunday to come forwards with any information.
- Lee Rowley, North East Derbyshire’s Conservative MP, described the major incident as ‘terrible and hugely tragic’. “I’ve no doubt that the town will pull together at this difficult time,” he added.
- Neighbours say they have been left ‘devastated’ by the incident, according to PA news agency. One man, who has lived in his home for just over a year, said he believed the family who live in the house at the centre of the investigation had been there for five or six months.
- The house is semi-detached, of a prefabricated design, with a large playing field on one side, which has been cordoned off. There are now multiple blue police forensic tents in the front garden.
- Drone images of the house where the incident occurred have now been released, showing the scene and the forensic tents in the garden.
- Specialist support is now being offered to pupils and staff at the Sheffield schools attended by the three children who were killed. Both Outwood Academy City in Stradbroke and Woodhouse West Primary School in Woodhouse were closed yesterday as a mark of respect to three youngsters who lost their lives.
- Hundreds of people attended a community vigil on Monday night as a mark of respect to the victims.