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‘Sleepover’ murderer jailed for killing pregnant partner and three kids with hammer

In an emotional victim impact statement, the father of two of the deceased children said ‘all I have is sadness’

Damien Bendall has been given a whole life order at Derby Crown Court for murdering his pregnant partner and three children, aged between 11 and 13, in September 2021. Photo: Derbyshire Constabulary/PA© PA

John Paul Bennett and Lacey Bennett with their father Jason. The children along with their mother Terri Harris and Lacey's friend Connie Gent where found dead at a property in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, near Sheffield.© PA

Bodyworn footage issued by Derbyshire Constabulary of police arresting Damien Bendall.© PA

Holly BancroftUK Independent

A quadruple murderer has been given a whole life order for killing his pregnant partner and three children with a claw hammer during a sleepover.

Damien Bendall (32) killed Lacey (11), her brother John (13), their mother Terri Harris (35), and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent (11), at their home in Killamarsh, Derbyshire.

Bendall has also been sentenced for the rape of Lacey during the horrific attack on September 19, 2021.

Bendall raped the defenceless 11-year-old as she lay dying from the head wounds he had inflicted with the hammer, Derby Crown Court heard yesterday.

The whole life order sentence, which is only given out in the most serious cases, means Bendall will die in jail.

In an emotional victim impact statement, Jason Bennett, the father of Lacey and John, said: “It’s like my life has been shattered into a billion pieces, never to be repaired. I no longer have a future. Life is empty.

“All I have is sadness. The love I crave is from my beautiful kids.”

Angela Smith, Ms Harris’s mother, said in a statement: “Bendall has taken everything of me... I wish he had taken my life and not theirs.”

Connie’s father, Charles Gent, said: “The murder of my daughter has completely torn my life apart... The man who carried out the crimes can only be described as truly evil.”

John Paul Bennett and Lacey Bennett with their father Jason. The children along with their mother Terri Harris and Lacey's friend Connie Gent where found dead at a property in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, near Sheffield.© PA

The court heard that Bendall had gone room to room looking for his victims.

Prosecutor Louis Mably KC said: “It does appear each [victim] was attacked in a different room, [and] appears he went around the house looking for them, attacking them each in turn, in order to kill them.”

Drug addict Bendall then left the bodies in the house to go into Sheffield to exchange 13-year-old John’s Xbox for some drugs, the court heard.

In an exchange with a taxi driver on the night, a recording of which was played to the court, Bendall said he had been “just chilling with the family” earlier in the evening.

He returned back to Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh after 6am on Sunday and called his mother, before heading out again to buy tobacco.

His mother called the police and told them her son had suffered a self-inflicted wound. When the police turned up at the house they were met by the 32-year-old, who told them he had “killed four people”.

In a police interview after his arrest, Bendall told officers: “The whole house is covered in claret. I used the hammer.

Bodyworn footage issued by Derbyshire Constabulary of police arresting Damien Bendall.© PA

“I didn’t realise what I did until I walked into my room and saw my missus and my daughter.”

He added: “Bet you don’t usually get four murders in Killamarsh do you – well, five [murders] because my missus was having a baby.”

Only hours before the killings, the children had been selling sweets outside their house to raise money for cancer research, the prosecution told the court.

Bendall’s defence lawyers told the court that he wanted to be sentenced to a whole life order and that he expressed “genuine remorse” for his actions.


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