Killamarsh murders trial: Damien Bendall charged with raping 11-year-old Lacey Bennett

A man accused of murdering a woman and three children in Killamarsh has now been further charged with raping one of the young victims.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 10:39 pm

Damien Bendall was due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court today, Friday, November 26, charged with the murders of John Paul Bennett, Lacey Bennett, their mother Terri Harris and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent.

But the case was adjourned after the 31-year-old defendant, of Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, was deemed too ill to attend court.

The Crown Prosecution Service has now revealed that in addition to four counts of murder, he has been charged with raping 11-year-old Lacey Bennett.

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Top L-R: Terri Harris and John Paul Bennett, and bottom L-R: Connie Gent and Lacey Bennett were all found dead at a house on Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh

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A CPS spokesperson said: “The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised a further charge for Damien Bendall, 31, after reviewing a file of evidence from Derbyshire Police. He has now been charged with rape of a girl under 13.

“Mr Bendall was previously charged with four counts of murder in relation to an incident in Killamarsh, Derbyshire.”

Bendall's plea hearing will now take place on January 4 next year at Derby Crown Court.

Damien Bendall, 31, of Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, was due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court today charged with four counts of murder after the bodies of John Paul Bennett, 13; Lacey Bennett, 11; their mother Terri Harris, 35; plus Lacey's friend Connie Gent, 11, were discovered at a property on Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, near Sheffield. He has now also been charged with raping Lacey Bennett (pic: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire)

The bodies of Terri Harris, aged 35, her son John Paul Bennett, 13, and daughter Lacey Bennett, 11, were found alongside that of Lacey's best friend Connie Gent, 11, who had been on a sleepover at the house, on Sunday, September 19.

Police made the discovery after responding to safety concerns.

Bendall, who has been remanded in custody at HMP Wakefield, was told at an earlier court hearing that a trial date of March 1, 2022, has been set.

The families of Terri and the children paid heartfelt tributes in the wake of their deaths.

Jason Bennett, father to John Paul and Lacey, described John as his ‘mini me’ and Lacey as his TikTok queen, adding ‘life will never be the same again’.

Kerry Shelton, Connie’s mum, said ‘anyone who knows Connie knows just how special she is’, while Connie’s dad, Charles Gent, called her ‘an absolute superstar in every way’.

Terri’s parents, Angela Smith and Lawrence Harris, called her ‘our daughter, our world, our everything’.