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Chilling moment brutal killer confessed to murdering partner and three children


Chilling moment brutal killer confessed to murdering partner and three children


he chilling moment “brutal” murderer Damien Bendall confessed to killing his pregnant partner and three young children was caught on a police bodyworn camera.

Footage shows him calmly telling police officers “I’ve murdered four people”, as he stands outside the crime scene the morning after his killing spree.

The one-time cage fighter was on Wednesday told he will spend the rest of his life in prison for the horrific attacks in Killamarsh near Sheffield – which also saw him rape his partner’s 11-year-old daughter as she lay dying.

Bendall’s 35-year-old partner Terri Harris, her 11-year-old daughter Lacey Bennett, her son John Paul Bennett, 13, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, also 11, were found dead at a house in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, in north-east Derbyshire, near Sheffield, on September 19 last year.

Bendall, 32, who had previously admitted manslaughter, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to murdering all four victims at the home he shared with Ms Harris.

Clockwise from top left: Victims Terri Harris, Lacey Bennett, John Paul Bennett, and Connie Gent

/ ES composite/Derbyshire Constabulary

The ex-con also admitted raping Lacey, during what prosecutor Louis Mably KC told the court were “truly hideous and dreadful” attacks on a defenceless woman and young children.

Mr Justice Sweeney handed him rare whole-life prison sentence, describing the murders as “brutal, vicious and cruel”.

Following the sentencing, Derbyshire Constabulary released a recording of Bendall’s call to 999, in which he calmly says: “I need the police and the ambulance here now because, um, I’ve killed four people.”

Bodyworn camera footage also released by the force shows the moment police arrive outside the murder scene on September 19 – the morning after his attacks – after Bendall’s mother rang 999 telling operators he had reported stabbing himself.

Dressed in a grey coat buttoned up to his neck and holding a mobile phone, the killer can be heard telling a uniformed officer: “I don’t know what happened.”

Asked if he has anything on him he shouldn’t have, he says “no, there’s no weapons or nothing”, adding that he had stabbed himself in the chest.

Asked if he has harmed anyone else, he calmly says: “I’ve murdered four people”.

He was then handcuffed as officers searched the house. After the four bodies were discovered inside, Bendall was arrested.

The crime scene in Chandos Crescent in in Killamarsh, Derbyshire, last September

/ PA

Audio of the police search of the house was played in court, a male officer’s voice catching with emotion as he said: “They’re gone, they’re gone. They’re all gone.”

During sentencing at Derby Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr Justice Sweeney said: “On your behalf, Bendall, it is accepted that the seriousness of your offences is so exceptionally high the court must make a whole-life order. I agree.

“As the prosecution have said, you carried out brutal, vicious and cruel attacks on a defenceless woman and three young children.

“You went around the house attacking them: Terri in the main bedroom, John in the bathroom, Connie in another bedroom, and Lacey, hitting them with a claw hammer and with such ferocity, their skulls were literally smashed in.”

He added that after attacking Lacey in the living room, he carried her “unconscious but still alive” to the main bedroom, where Ms Harris lay dead on the floor, before placing the youngster on the bed and positioning a mirror “so you could see all of what you were going to do”.

“Then, as her young life was ebbing away, you raped her in the grossest breach of trust,” said the judge.

Damien Bendall

/ PA

Having already imposed whole-life sentences for each of the murders, Mr Justice Sweeney said the “horrendous circumstances” of the rape justified the same sentence.

“I have no doubt you are a dangerous offender,” he told Bendall who sat looking at the floor while the victims’ families stared at him.

The judge told Bendall he had displayed “controlling” behaviour towards his partner, Ms Harris, before the attacks, and concerned friends described him as a “gangster wannabe” who bragged about spending time in prison.

As the judge told him he would never be free again, some in the public gallery cried “yes”.

Prosecutor Louis Mably KC, opening the case earlier, said Lacey was likely to have been raped at least twice by Bendall.

Earlier that day, “happy-go-lucky” Lacey, Connie and John had filmed themselves selling sweets to passers-by at a cancer charity stall they had set up, the court heard.

Connie had only been due to stay over for one night, but got permission from her mother to extend her stay by another night – fatefully coinciding with Bendall’s attacks, the court heard.

After the killings, Bendall “took John’s Xbox, ordered a taxi, went to Sheffield” and exchanged the games console for drugs, Mr Mably said.

Tributes pictured outside the crime scene on September 21, 2021

/ PA

Bendall, who had a cannabis habit, later told police he had consumed “three to four bags of cocaine and then blacked out”.

Most of Bendall’s victims had defensive injuries, indicating they had tried to fight him off after he launched his attack some time after 9.42pm the previous evening.

Mr Mably told the court: “The circumstances of these offences are truly hideous and dreadful.

“These were brutal, vicious and cruel attacks on a defenceless woman and three young children.

“The defendant attacked them using a claw hammer which he used to hit them over the head and on the upper body. It was perfectly clear none of the victims stood a chance.”

After his arrest, Bendall told officers at Ripley police station: “The whole house is covered in claret.

“I used the hammer. I didn’t realise what I did until I walked into my room and saw my missus and my daughter.

“Bet you don’t usually get four murders in Killamarsh do you? Well, five (murders), because my missus was having a baby.”

Vanessa Marshall KC, for Bendall – who has maintained he has no memory of the event – said her client agreed he should be handed a whole-life order.

John Paul Bennett and Lacey Bennett with their father Jason

/ PA

She said: “His actions that night remain largely inexplicable and motiveless.”

Bendall, who had previous convictions for robbery, attempted robbery and grievous bodily harm, carried out the rape and murders while on a 24-month suspended sentence handed down at Swindon Crown Court in June 2021 for arson of a car he had tried to steal.

Welcoming the sentence, Derbyshire Police called Bendall a “monster”, while the Crown Prosecution Service labelled his actions as “barbaric”.

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