Killamarsh tragedy: Inquests open into deaths of woman and three children

Inquests have been opened into the deaths of a woman and three children in Killamarsh.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 3:08 pm

Officers were called to a house on Chandos Crescent early on September 19.

There they found the bodies of 35-year-old Terri Harris, her daughter Lacey Bennett, 11, and son John Paul Bennett, 13, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, also 11.

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Tributes left at the scene of the tragedy in Killamarsh.

Their inquests were opened at Chesterfield Coroner’s Court on Monday afternoon.

Giving evidence, Detective Inspector Graham Prince, of Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “At 7.26am on September 19, Derbyshire Constabulary was contacted by Dorset Police after they received a telephone call about the safety of Damien Bendall.

“The call to Dorset Police was made by a relative of Bendall’s.

“Derbyshire officers were dispatched to Chandos Crescent at around 7.39am and were met by Bendall.

“Following a conversation between Bendall and officers, officers entered a property and located the bodies (of Terri, Lacey, John Paul and Connie).

“A short time later, paramedics arrived at the scene and they confirmed that all four were deceased.

“Bendall was arrested on suspicion of the murders of all four people.

“He was taken to hospital before being taken to the police station.”

Bendall, 31, of Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, was subsequently charged with four counts of murder, DI Prince said.

Peter Nieto, area coroner, said the court was awaiting full post-mortem reports but added that the four died following a ‘violent attack’.

He added: “Extremely tragic events occurred and everyone’s thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased.”

The court heard Terri was formally identified by her father.

Lacey and John Paul were formally identified by their father.

Connie – who was stopping over with Lacey and her family that weekend, the inquest heard – was identified by her father.

Mr Nieto said full inquest hearings will take place after criminal proceedings have concluded.

Bendall appeared via prison video link at Derby Crown Court on Friday.

He was remanded in custody and his trial has been set for March next year.

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