Damien Bendall to go on trial for murder over Killamarsh deaths

A 31-year-old man is due to go on trial next year charged with four counts of murder after a woman and three children were found dead in a house near Sheffield.

The bodies of John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, their mother Terri Harris, 35, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, were discovered at a property in Killamarsh on Sunday morning.

Damien Bendall appeared at Derby crown court via video-link from HMP Wakefield on Friday morning accused of the four murders.

Appearing before the judge, Nirmal Shant QC, the honorary recorder of Derby, Bendall spoke only to say “yeah, correct” when confirming his name to the court clerk.

Wearing a grey sweatshirt, Bendall listened as a date was set for a trial expected to take place between 1 March and 27 May.

Duncan Penny QC, prosecuting, told the judge extra time was needed before the next hearing because it was a “very complex scene” and there were “ongoing forensic inquiries of a very significant nature taking place”.

Shant remanded Bendall in custody to appear at a pre-trial hearing on 26 November at Nottingham crown court. He is expected to attend via video-link from prison.

The charges against Bendall allege that he murdered all four victims on a day between Friday 17 September and Monday 20 September.

Derbyshire constabulary said the bodies of the four victims were found after police responded to a call about concerns for the safety of a man at the property at 7.26am on Sunday.

Family members said Connie Gent was on a sleepover at the home of her best friend, Lacey Bennett, when they were killed.

The three children were pupils at Outwood Academy City in Sheffield, which said it was “devastated” by their loss.

An inquest into the deaths will be opened at Chesterfield coroner’s court on Monday.

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