Killamarsh deaths: School pays moving tribute to former pupils whose 'hopes and dreams have now been cut tragically short'
A Sheffield primary school, which was attended by the children found dead in Killamarsh on Sunday, has described the incident as a ‘crushing blow’ as staff and pupils come to terms with the tragic losses.
Woodhouse West Primary School said the victims – John Paul Bennett, 13, his sister Lacey Bennett, 11 and best friend Connie Gent, also 11 – were all former pupils of the school and everyone there had been left ‘shocked’ and ‘saddened’ by the devastating events.
Headteacher Anne-Marie Bailey said Lacey and Connie very recently joined John Paul in Outwood Academy City in Year 7 and ‘will have been excited by moving on in the next phase of their education, but their potential, hopes and dreams have now been cut tragically short’.
She said: “Lacey is remembered by her teachers as a kind and helpful girl with a wonderful imagination, who loved to dance. Her smile brightened everyone’s day.
“Connie was a gentle girl who cherished her friends and enjoyed writing creative stories. She was generous of spirit and had a big heart.
“John Paul was a member of the school several years ago and staff remember an enthusiastic, popular boy who enjoyed sports and entertained everyone with his fabulous sense of humour.
“Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of all the children and Terri Harris who lost her life alongside her son and daughter.
"As a school and a community this has come as a crushing blow and it will take time for everyone to come to terms with this loss.
"We are also mindful of colleagues and pupils at Outwood Academy City who have been as equally affected and appreciate their support.
"The coming days ahead will be challenging. We are working together with partners including the Police, Sheffield City Council, the local Church and from within Sheffield South East Trust to provide support to staff, pupils and the community. We are grateful for their help.
"It was a privilege to have known Lacey, John Paul and Connie, all of whom were special in their own way and left their fingerprints on our hearts.”
The children were all killed in a house in Chandos Crescent last weekend. Their bodies were discovered along with that of Terri Harris, 35 – Lacey and John Paul’s mum.
A 31-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder.
The school closed on Monday as a mark of respect and reopened on Tuesday.
Outside the school’s gates at home time, the tragic incident remained on everyone’s minds as parents asked each other how their children had taken the news.
Pupils, several of them in tears, came out and told their parents how their day had gone and how they were brought together to process what happened.
One parent told the Star: "There are no words to describe what happened. All I can say is that they were lovely kids with a lovely mum. Their mum did everything for them. That's all there is to say. They just didn't deserve it."
Another parent said: "It's too raw to talk about still."