Killamarsh murders: Damien Bendall to stand trial next year over deaths of mother and three children

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Damien Bendall has been charged with four counts of murder

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A 31-year-old man will stand trial next year charged with murdering a mother and three children whose bodies were found in a house near Sheffield on Sunday.

Terri Harris, 35, was killed with her son John Paul Bennett, 13, daughter Lacey Bennett, 11, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, at a house in Killamarsh, across the border in Derbyshire.

The charges against Damien Bendall, the partner of Ms Harris, allege that he murdered all four victims between Friday 17 September and Monday 20 September.

Mr Bendall appeared by video-link from HMP Wakefield at Derby Crown Court on Friday during a pre-trial hearing.

Wearing a grey round-necked sweatshirt, he spoke only to confirm his name and that he could hear and see proceedings.

He was told he would face trial on four counts of murder on 1 March next year but was not asked to enter a plea before being remanded into custody to await his trial.

Derbyshire Constabulary said the bodies were found after police responded to a call about concerns for the safety of a man at the address.

It is thought Connie was staying at the house for a sleepover with her friend Lacey, who lived their with her brother and mother Ms Harris.

Mr Bendall was initially taken to hospital suffering from minor self-inflicted injuries, but was swiftly taken into police custody.

A growing shrine of tributes, candles and balloons for the four victims has been established in Chandos Crescent.

Neighbours recalled how the children were friendly and polite, often chasing each other in front of their house or selling things on the street to raise money for a cancer charity.

The children’s school, Outwood Academy City in Sheffield, also paid tribute to their pupils in a statement. They described Lacey and Connie as making “a positive impact on everyone they came into contact with” and John as a “popular and polite young man, well-liked by staff and with a close-knit group of friends”.

“The children had bright futures ahead of them but sadly none of us will get to see this.”

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