Killamarsh deaths: Woman and three children died as a result of ‘violent attack’

A mother and three Sheffield school children who were found dead at a house in Killamarsh died as a result of a ‘violent attack’, an inquest opening has heard.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 4:02 pm
Updated Monday, 27th September 2021, 4:02 pm

The bodies of John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, their mother Terri Harris, 35, and Lacey's friend Connie Gent, 11, were discovered at a property on Chandos Crescent on September 19.

Damien Bendall, 31, has since been charged with all four murders and has been remanded into custody by a crown court judge.

An inquest opening at Chesterfield Coroner's Court today heard a relative of Bendall had called Dorset Police to say the defendant had sustained a self-inflicted stab wound.

John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, their mother Terri Harris, 35, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, died as a result of a “violent attack” at a house in Killamarsh on September 19, Chesterfield Coroner’s Court has heard.

Giving evidence, Detective Inspector Graham Prince, of Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “At 7.26am on October 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 – he indicated he had suffered a self-inflicted stab wound.

“Derbyshire officers were dispatched to Chandos Crescent at around 7.39am and were met by Bendall – he said he had stabbed himself.

“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 (for his self-inflicted stab wound) before being taken to the police station.”

Area coroner Peter Nieto was told officers were met by Bendall at the address and, following a further conversation with the suspect, entered the house where they found the bodies of the four victims.

He said 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.