A 31-year-old man has been remanded in custody on four counts of murder after the bodies of a mother and three children were discovered inside a property on Chandos Crescent in the Derbyshire village on Sunday morning.
The boyfriend of a mother who was discovered dead alongside her two children and one of their best friends following a sleepover has appeared in court charged with their murders. Identified victims are Terri Harris, 35, her two children Lacey Bennett, 11, her brother John Paul, 12, and Lacey’s best friend Connie Gent, 11.
Damien Bendall, 31, was arrested at the scene after police discovered four dead in his home on Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, Derbyshire. Shaven headed Bendall appeared via video link at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court merely spoke to confirm his name, date of birth, and residence. He refused to enter a plea during a brief four-minute hearing.
Magistrate deputy district judge Gary Garland ordered him in custody until Friday, when he will appear at Derby Crown Court. The charges imposed against him put forth that he murdered four people on a day between Friday September 17 and Monday September 20.
Derbyshire Police stated yesterday that a 31-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder, despite officers having no prior contact with individuals involved. The authorities were initially alerted to the area at 7.30 a.m. citing concerns about a man – believed to be the now-arrested perpetrator – before discovering the four victims. Murder squad investigators are also looking into what happened at the property around 9.45 p.m. the night before, with any witnesses who heard or saw anything being sought, as concerns remain over what prompted the killings.
The deaths shocked the community, prompting an outpouring of mourning and emotional tributes as a vigil was held on Monday to honor them. The father of Lacey and John Paul, collapsed in tears as he laid flowers for his children. Meanwhile, devastated Charlie Gent, Connie’s father when interviewed about the incident that left his daughter dead said he don’t know what to say or how to react.
Terri Harris may have been pregnant at the time of her murder, according to reports, because she allegedly told friends and neighbors she was in the early stages of pregnancy in the weeks before her death. Relatives confirmed that Harris had been in a relationship with Bendall.