‘My heart is broken' says father after children and woman found dead at family home

© Jason Bennett

Dad Jason Bennett is mourning the loss of his two children, John-Paul and Lacey

– Jason Bennett

The father of two children found dead in a house in Derbyshire has said his heart has “broken into a million pieces”.

The two children, John and Lacey, were found along with their mother, Terri Harris, and another young child who is believed to be a friend of Lacey’s from school.

A murder investigation has been launched into the deaths and police have arrested a man in connection with the incident. They are not looking for anyone else at this time.

Jason Bennett shared his shock and grief on Facebook, where he wrote: “I didn’t protect my beautiful babies enough from the monsters and now they have been suddenly taken away from me.

“I’m writing this as I’m lost and broken on a 4-hour drive back home, having just received heartbreaking news that my beautiful boy John and beautiful daughter Lacey have been taken away from me.

“Their mum Terri also lost her life and Lacey’s best friend was also taken away from the world.”

He mentioned that he knew the alleged perpetrator, adding: “Won’t mention a name as he doesn’t deserve it.”

In another tribute to his children, Mr Bennett wrote: “I need my babies back. Life will never be the same. My angels. Won’t be long till I’m touching your cheeks, holding you close and kissing your beautiful faces. Only you two can fix me.”

He later shared videos of his two children, calling his daughter Lacey, 11, the “apple of my eye” and his son John, 13, “the heart and soul of my life”.

Mr Bennett also visited the site of the tragedy in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh near Sheffield to lay flowers on Monday. He stayed at the scene for more than 30 minutes and told reporters that he was “heartbroken; million pieces; shattered.”

He said: “I’m broken, I just want to kiss my babies. I just want to kiss them and hold them. TikTok Queen and my beautiful boy, they were beautiful.”

Mr Bennett’s parents Debbie and Trevor Bennett also arrived at the scene. Mrs Bennett said: “I can’t understand why he had to take them all. Why take the kids? We are just heartbroken.”

They said their son was on holiday when he found out about the tragedy.

Mrs Bennett said both children loved football, adding: “I don’t know how he’ll [Jason] come through this. He’s going to need a lot of strength.”

One friend of the family wrote a tribute to the family on social media, saying: “I can’t actually believe I’m writing this… RIP to my friend Terri Harris and Lacey Elizabeth and John Paul, I am truly devastated.”

She added: “I will cherish the memories we had with our children, the laughs we had, the chinwags/coffee mornings/drinks in the Angel beer garden with the kiddies, and will keep them in my heart forever.”

Officers were called to a property in Chandos Crescent at 7.25am on Sunday after concerns were raised about the people living there.

The Outwood Academy City school in Sheffield confirmed it was closed following the “tragic incident” involving three of its pupils.

Neighbours began to leave flowers on Monday morning at the police cordon around the property in Chandos Crescent.

Becky Poole, who was laying flowers, said: “I’m just absolutely heartbroken. I’m also a swimming teacher and I knew the kids.

“Derbyshire Police need to do more. I know this is probably an isolated incident, but there’s too much. Killamarsh used to be a really nice village. You could walk around. Now people are scared to go out.”

One man living close by said: “I’m shocked. I think people will be devastated.”

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Routledge, of Derbyshire police, who is leading the investigation, said on Sunday evening: “We would really like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the early hours of this morning, or has any information which they think could help with our inquiries.

“No matter how small you think that information may be, please do get in touch with us.

“It is understandably a worrying time for the community, and we would like to thank them for their patience and understanding at this time.

“It was important to us that close relatives of those involved were informed before we could give further details about incident.”

North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley offered his condolences to the family following the “terrible and hugely tragic” incident.

He added: “Killamarsh is such a lovely, close-knit and warm community and I know that many residents will be shocked and worried by the news.

“This is believed to be an isolated incident with an arrest having been made. I’ve no doubt that the village will pull together at this difficult time.”

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