31-Year-Old Damien Bendall Appears In Court Charged With Murders Of Mother And Three Children
Updated: Jan 7
A man has appeared in court charged with the brutal murders of a mother, her two children, and a friend at a sleepover at their home last year.
It is alleged that on September 19, last year, 31-year-old, Damien Bendall raped and murdered 11-year-old Lacey Bennett. He also stands accused of killing her 13-year-old brother, John Paul, their 35-year-old mother, Terri Harris, as well as Lacey's 11-year-old friend, Connie Gent.
On the day of the murders both Connie and Lacey had set up a sweet stall to raise money for charity and that night the children were all having a sleepover.
A relative of Bendall made a phone call to Dorset Police to report that he had sustained a self-inflicted stab wound, this led the police to a property in Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, Derbyshire, UK, where they made the horrifying discovery of the four bodies of the victims.
When they arrived at the property at 7.39 am on 19 September the police officers were met by Bendall.
On Tuesday, Damien Bendall appeared at Derby Crown Court wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue jeans, and a white face mask. He was read the charges which allege that he murdered Connie, Lacey, John, and Terri.
Damien Bendall spoke only to confirm his name. Vanessa Marshall QC, his defence barrister, told the judge that they were still awaiting the results of an MRI scan on Bendall and made the request to not enter a plea until the results had arrived.
Judge Shant said: "This is not an everyday case, we are very shortly before trial and we still do not know what the issues in the case are."
"I am disappointed in the lack of progress in this case and in two weeks' time I expect the indictment to be put on the next occasion."
This means that on 18 January, when Bendall next appears in court, he will be expected to enter pleas to all of the charges.
Bendall is currently being held in custody at HMP Wakefield and his trial is due to begin on 1 March this year.
The father of Connie, Charlie Gent, spoke of his pain following the murders, he said: "Parents, spend as much time with your kids as you possibly can... You never know what's around the corner."
He also added: "My little girl has gone... Fly safe, baby girl. I love you with all my heart and always will."
Jason Bennett, the father of Lacey and John Paul, said in a statement issued through Derbyshire police that his life "will never be the same again".
He described his son John Paul as "absolutely my mini-me, who behind his tough exterior was the most loving son you could wish for" whilst describing his daughter Lacey as his "TikTok queen".
Angela Smith, and Lawrence Harris, the parents of Terri Harris, described her as "our world, our everything". They said that she had "made many friends throughout her short life and remained loyal to all of them" and described her as "an amazing mum whose babies were her world".
We will update you on this case when further information is released.