Killamarsh tragedy: Damien Bendall trial set for March next year
Damien Bendall – the man accused of murdering a woman and three children at a house in Killamarsh – will go on trial in March next year.
This morning Bendall, 31, appeared via prison video link at Derby Crown Court.
During the short hearing the defendant, wearing a grey jumper and looking down at a camera, said “yes, correct” when confirming his identity.
He offered no plea to the charges he faces.
Judge Nirmal Shant QC told the court a two to three-week trial could be expected.
Duncan Penny, prosecuting, told the judge setting dates for further preliminary hearings leading up to the trial depended on ongoing forensics and the “complexity of the scene”.
The judge said the matter would be tried at Derby Crown Court – however issues surrounding the trial included the defendant’s “mental health rather than anything else”.
Addressing Bendall, of Chandos Crescent, she told him: “Your trial is fixed for March 1. You will be remanded in custody – thank you very much.”
Bendall, 31, has been charged with the murders of 35-year-old Terri Harris, her daughter Lacey Bennett, 11, son John Paul Bennett, 13, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, also 11.
His second appearance at court comes after police rushed to a house on Chandos Crescent at 7.25am this week after reports of “concerns for safety” of those at the address.
Upon their arrival they found the bodies of Terri Harris, her daughter Lacey Bennett, son John Paul Bennett and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent.
Jason Bennett – father of Lacey and John Paul - said afterwards that the loss of his children had “absolutely broken” his heart into “a million pieces”.
He described the children as his “beautiful babies” and how he now feels “lost and broken”.
During a visit to the scene on Monday he was consoled and hugged after breaking down in tears close to the spot where floral tributes were left.
On Monday evening around 300 mourners stood in Killamarsh’s Baker Park in a vigil to remember Terri Harris and the three children.