A man has admitted to killing a “defenseless” pregnant mother, along with three young children, who were discovered dead at a home in Derbyshire. Let’s see about the killer Damien Bendall who pleads guilty to killing family in detail.
Who is Damien Bendall?
Damien Bendall, 32, initially denied killing his former spouse Terri Harris, 35, her children Lacey Bennett, 11, John Paul Bennett, 13, and friend Connie Gent, 11, but he later confessed to manslaughtering the victims.
Bendall entered his most recent plea on Wednesday at Derby Crown Court, where he also admitted to raping Lacey after first disputing the accusation.
Terri Harris. Pic: Derbyshire Constabulary
Connie had been staying over at the Killamarsh, near Sheffield, home when the killings happened; Lacey and John Paul were Ms.Harris’ children from a previous relationship.
According to testimony given in court, Bendall is suspected of searching the family house for each of his victims individually before killing them by attacking them in separate rooms.
In what prosecutor Louis Mably KC described to the court as “brutal, nasty, and callous attacks” on a “defenseless” woman and three children, he murdered the four victims at the home he shared with Ms. Harris.
According to Mr. Mably, Bendall hit them over the head and on the upper body with a claw hammer as part of his assault.
Mr Mably added,
“Their skulls were smashed in” and “it was perfectly clear none of the victims stood a chance,”
“One of the dreadful facts about this case is that during the attacks, the defendant raped 11-year-old Lacey.”
Terri Harris died along with her children Lacey and John Paul Bennett.
On September 19, 2016, Ms. Harris and the three kids were discovered dead in Chandos Crescent.
After being detained, Bendall admitted to using a hammer during an interview with authorities at the Ripley police station.
“I used the hammer.”
“Bet you don’t usually get four murders in Killamarsh do you – well, five (murders), because my missus was having a baby.”
According to Mr. Mably, Bendall sexually assaulted Lacey as she lay dying from the head injuries he had caused.
After meeting and exchanging messages online, the court learned that Terri and Bendall had been dating.
According to Mr. Mably, the strikes on September 18 likely occurred between 9.42 and 10 p.m.
“On the night of Saturday September 17, 2021, stretching into the early hours of September 19, the defendant brutally and viciously murdered his then partner, Terri Harris, who is aged 35 – and was in the early stages of pregnancy.”
“He also murdered Terri’s two children, by a previous partner, her 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter Lacey, and he murdered Connie Gent, also aged 11.”
“She was a friend of Lacey’s who just happened that evening to be staying at Lacey’s house for a sleepover.”
According to him, it appears that Bendall stole John’s Xbox from his room, booked a cab, and travelled to Sheffield to trade it for narcotics.
In September 2021, police were present at the scene of the murders in Killamarsh’s Chandos Crescent.
The defendant responded, “Not too bad, but furious,” when the driver inquired about how his night had gone, according to Mr. Mably.
According to what the court heard, Bendall informed the driver he had been “just chilling with family.”
Bendall removed the Xbox and went back to Chandos Crescent.
He proceeded to a nearby store at 7:23 am, the court was told, and purchased cigarettes.
Mr. Mably claimed that soon after his trip to the store, Bendall’s actions were discovered.
According to the prosecution, Bendall’s mother contacted the police at 7:26 a.m. and reported her son had told her he had self-inflicted stab wounds.
“At 7.38am, he used Connie’s phone to call 999 and reported he had killed four people and said he had just seen the police arrive at the scene.”
Later, the court was shown a video of the cake sale Connie and Lacey had organised earlier that day to collect money for cancer research.
Today’s sentence for Bendall is scheduled for later.
Given the seriousness of the offences, Mr. Mably informed Mr. Justice Sweeney that the Crown will be seeking a life sentence for Bendall.
“In view of all this, the prosecution’s submission as to sentence is that the seriousness of the offending is so exceptionally high, it falls into the category of case that calls for the imposition of a whole life order, rather than a minimum term.”
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