Killamarsh murders accused “too unwell” to attend court and understood to have a “tumour”

A court heard this morning that Damien Bendall – accused of murdering a woman and three children in Killamarsh – is understood to have a “tumour”.

By Ben McVay
Friday, 26th November 2021, 11:30 am
Damiel Bendall was "too unwell" to enter his plea at Derby Crown Court
Damiel Bendall was "too unwell" to enter his plea at Derby Crown Court

Vanessa Marshall QC, acting for Bendall, 31, told Derby Crown Court his defence team were waiting for an MRI scan to be performed regarding “a tumour of some description”.

The defendant is due to go on trial in March for the murders of Terri Harris, 35, along with her daughter Lacey Bennett, son John Paul Bennett and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent.

In September police rushed to a house in Chandos Cresecent, Killamarsh, where the three children and Ms Harris were discovered and where Bendall was arrested.

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Bendall was expected to give his plea to four murder charges this morning during a plea and trial preparation hearing.

However Ms Marshall told Judge Nirmal Shant QC that the defendant – currently remanded to HMP Wakefield – was “too unwell” to attend the hearing.

She said: “When he was asked to come to the video link he said he was feeling too unwell to attend.”

Explaining a delay in the progress of the trial, Ms Marshall told the judge: “You will know that Mr Bendall was seen last Friday by our forensic psychiatrist.”

"We’re waiting for an MRI scan to be performed because I think your honour will know there is a tumour of some description.”

However, Bendall’s defence team were still waiting for an MRI scanner to be brought to the prison – which had still not been done.

Ms Marshall added that Bendall’s psychiatrist had recommended his transfer from prison to a hospital for treatment.

The court heard further progress in the trial’s timetable was dependant on the MRI scan results and the psychiatric report which follows.

Judge Shant, adding “we need some direction for this case”, set a deadline of December 23 for the scan to be performed.

She said: “I am going to direct that he attend the next hearing and that measures should be put in place if there are concerns about his presence in the building then the appropriate measures need to be put in place.”

She added that the murder charges needed to be put to Bendall “sooner rather than later”.

She said: "I’m going to direct that he be brought and the importance of him attending be explained to him on that day.”

Duncan Penny QC, prosecuting, told the court the Crown were still awaiting further evidence from a number of “devices” which were damaged “during the course of the hours leading up to the arrival of the police” at Chandos Crescent when the tragedy unfolded.

While forensic work from the scene was still “outstanding”.

Bendall, formerly of Chandos Crescent, is due to go on trial in March.

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