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Families of mum and three children who died in ‘violent attack’ are in ‘indescribable pain’

Written by on 30/09/2021

The families of a mother and three children who died in a “violent attack” at a house in Derbyshire have said they are in “indescribable pain” and have been “left broken” by their deaths.

John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, their mother Terri Harris, 35, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, were found dead by officers at a property in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, on 19 September.

Damien Bendall, 31, has been charged with four murders and has been remanded in custody.

Connie Gent, pictured, has been remembered by her mother as a girl with an 'amazing imagination'
Image: Connie Gent, pictured, has been remembered by her mother as a girl with an ‘amazing imagination’

Kerry Shelton, Connie’s mother, said in a tribute issued by Derbyshire Police: “Anyone who knows Connie knows just how special she is.

“Connie had an amazing imagination and was always ready to put on a show, especially at Christmas when she would write plays to act out with her brothers and sister.

“At birthdays, Halloween or at any given chance Connie would be organising, making or baking. She always made things so special.

“I have so many memories about Connie, but they belong to me and my children. Memories we will always cherish.

“I would like to thank all involved for their love and support. Connie, we will love you always and forever.”

Terri Harris died along with her children Lacey and John Paul Bennett
Image: Terri Harris died along with her children Lacey and John Paul Bennett

An inquest hearing into the four deaths was told all victims died as a result of a “violent attack”.

Connie’s father Charles Gent said: “The pain is indescribable. I wake up every morning hoping this has all been a terrible nightmare, but it’s not. It’s the unbearable reality that my little girl has gone.

“Connie was an absolute superstar in every way. She had a gift – if someone was down she could instantly make them feel okay.

“She lit up every room she went in and meant something to everyone she came across, even in hard times. Connie had the ability to keep everyone smiling.

“This by far is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through; it still doesn’t even feel real. Fly safe my angel. They came for you and left me behind. I could never say goodbye, so I’ll see you soon. I love you more than you can possibly imagine forever and always.”

Lacey Bennett was one of the three children killed at the house in Killamarsh
Image: Lacey Bennett was one of the three children killed at the house in Killamarsh

Jason Bennett, John Paul and Lacey’s father, visited the scene shortly after the incident to lay floral tributes to his children.

In a statement, he said: “Life will never be the same again. Families have been left broken by the awful loss of John, Lacey, Terri and Connie.

“I’ve been left broken. I’m devastated. John and Lacey came into our lives and brought so much love and happiness and were adored by myself and their big sisters, forever loved and remembered.

“We would also like to thank everyone for their loving support and our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic loss of four precious lives.”

The families of Lacey Bennett, left, and Connie Gent, right, have paid tribute to the girls after their deaths
Image: The families of Lacey Bennett, left, and Connie Gent, right, have paid tribute to the girls after their deaths

Angela Smith and Lawrence Harris, Ms Harris’ parents, issued a joint statement through the force in which they said: “Our Terri, our daughter, our world, our everything. From the day she was born she was our princess and remained so until she was cruelly taken from us.

“She was an amazing mum; her babies were her world.

“Terri would put herself out not just for her family and friends but anyone who needed her help. She absolutely loved her work as a care worker and would go above and beyond for the people she cared for.

“She will be missed more than any words can ever express, not only by her family but by anyone who had the privilege to have been in her life.”

Bendall, of Chandos Crescent, is due to enter a plea to the charges at Nottingham Crown Court on 26 November.

 Sky News

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