Man accused of murdering mother and three children to stand trial next year

Damien Bendall, 31, appeared at Derby Crown Court on Friday over the deaths in Killamarsh, near Sheffield.

Killamarsh deaths scene
Killamarsh deaths scene

A 31-year-old man is to stand trial next year charged with four counts of murder after a mother and three children were found dead in a house.

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 in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, near Sheffield, on Sunday morning.

Damien Bendall appeared by video-link at Derby Crown Court on Friday wearing a grey round-necked sweatshirt. He spoke only to confirm his name and that he could hear and see proceedings during a short hearing.

Damien Bendall sketch
Damien Bendall appearing at Derby Crown Court by video-link (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Derbyshire Constabulary said the bodies were found after police responded to a call about concerns for the safety of a man at the address at 7.26am.

The charges against Bendall allege that he murdered all four victims on a day between Friday September 17 and Monday September 20.

The defendant appeared from HMP Wakefield and was told he would face a trial on March 1 next year.

He was not required to enter any pleas to the murder charges.

Killamarsh deaths
The father of some of the victims leaves flowers at the scene (Danny Lawson/PA)

Remanding Bendall into custody, Judge Nirmal Shant QC said: “Your trial will be fixed for March 1 but before that date there will be a review of this case on November 26.

“Mr Bendall, you will be remanded in custody. Thank-you very much.”

Bendall, of Chandos Crescent, will now appear at Nottingham Crown Court on November 26.

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