A man condemned to live in prison for the murder of a pregnant lady and three children in Derbyshire will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Damien Bendall admitted to murdering his then-girlfriend Terri Harris, her 11-year-old daughter Lacey Bennett, her 13-year-old son John Paul Bennett, and Lacey’s 11-year-old friend Connie Gent.
This page contains details about murders that some readers may find upsetting.
He initially denied the killings but changed his pleas on Wednesday when he stood before the Derby Crown Court and also admitted to raping Lacey.
As the 11-year-life old’s waned, Mr Justice Sweeney stated that the sexual offence was perpetrated “in the gravest breach of trust.”
Damien Bendall will spend the rest of his life in jail.
He stated that “fair punishment” required Bendall to spend the rest of his life in jail for each count of murder, and he was also issued a life sentence for the rape.
Ms Harris’s children from a previous relationship were Lacey and John Paul, and Connie had spent the night at their home in Killamarsh, near Sheffield.
The court heard that Connie was only supposed to remain for one night, but she obtained permission from her mother to stay for an additional night, which coincided with the attacks.
The court was informed that Bendall, 32, is alleged to have searched the family house for his victims individually before assaulting them in separate rooms in order to murder them.
The prosecution told the court that he committed “brutal, savage, and cruel attacks” on a “defenseless” mother and three children in the home he lived with Ms Harris, 35.
Bendall assaulted them with a claw hammer.
Mr Mably stated that Bendall assaulted them with a claw hammer, striking them in the head and upper body.
Mr Mably remarked, “their skulls were bashed in” and “it was abundantly evident that none of the victims stood a chance.”
He said, “One of the horrifying aspects about this case is that the defendant raped 11-year-old Lacey during the attacks.”
The bodies of Ms Harris and her three children were discovered in Chandos Crescent on September 19, 2017.
After murdering them, Bendall seized John Paul’s video game console, got a cab to Sheffield, and traded it for narcotics, according to Mr Mably.
Bendall later revealed to authorities that he had consumed “three to four bags of cocaine” before passing out.
After being detained, Bendall informed police officials at the Ripley police station, “I used the hammer.”
He said, “I bet you don’t get four murders in Killamarsh very often, do you? Well, five (murders), since my wife was pregnant.”
No one can bring Connie from death.
Charles Gent, Connie’s father, stated that no punishment would ever be adequate for his daughter’s death, adding, “The perpetrator can only be described as truly evil and should never be released from incarceration, just as the families of the victims in this case will never be released from their life sentences as a result of the shocking and abhorrent crimes he committed against a defenseless woman and children.”
Andrew Baxter, from the Crown Prosecution Service, stated following Damien Bendall’s imprisonment, “It is difficult to convey the scope of his barbarous and horrible conduct. He searched the home-seeking victims until he had slain them all, committing rape on one of the youngsters during the assault.
“His actions left two families profoundly devastated by sorrow and the community in shock and confusion.”