Memorial garden is planned for Killamarsh victims after horror house is demolished

A memorial garden is being planned to remember child-murderer Damien Bendall’s four deceased victims after he used a claw hammer to kill his partner at their shared home along with three children.

North East Derbyshire District Council announced the demolition of the property, at 54 Chandos Crescent, started at 10am, on Friday July 21, and was completed on the same day.

Bendall, now aged 33, pleaded guilty to murdering his partner Terri Harris, her children John Paul Bennett and Lacey Bennett and Lacey’s young friend, Connie Gent, after the horrific incident at their shared home on Chandos Cresent, in Killamarsh, on September 18, 2021. Bendall also admitted raping 11-year-old Lacey as she lay dying.

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A council spokesman stated at the time of the announcement: “Work continues to remove the waste from [the] site. Once the waste is fully removed the area will be landscaped and turfed in line with the wishes of the family.”

Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, in September, 2021Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, in September, 2021
Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, in September, 2021

Planning permission was granted to proceed with the demolition and planning notices were placed at the site from the week commencing June 12, for 21 days.

The semi-detached property and scene of the crime had stood boarded-up since the incident, with a small plaque in honour of the deceased on a cherry tree in the garden as the only indicator of what happened on that tragic day.

Prosecuting barrister Louis Mably KC had told Derby Crown Court during Bendall’s sentencing that on the night of Saturday, September 18, 2021, and into the early hours of Sunday, September 19, 2021, the defendant brutally murdered his then partner Terri Harris who was aged 35 and pregnant.

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Mr Mably added that Bendall also murdered Terri Harris’ two children – 13-year-old son John Paul Bennett and 11-year-old daughter Lacey – and the youngsters’ 11-year-old friend Connie Gent.

Rubble from the house in KillamarshRubble from the house in Killamarsh
Rubble from the house in Killamarsh

Bendall went through the property which he had shared with Terri Harris and he struck his victims over their heads with a claw hammer during the ‘brutal and vicious and cruel attacks’. He also raped Lacey as she lay dying from her head injuries, according to Mr Mably.

Mr Mably said that phone evidence indicated the fatal attacks had happened shortly after 9.42pm, around the time Bendall had been trying to contact his drug-dealer for cocaine.

After the murders, Bendall had also taken John Paul Bennett’s Xbox and gone in a taxi to Woodhouse, Sheffield, where he swapped the games console for drugs, according to Mr Mably.

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Mr Mably said that police arrived at Chandos Crescent after Bendall had spoken to his mother, who was concerned that he may have suffered a self-inflicted stab wound.

Bendall also called police and told them: “I need the police and an ambulance because I just killed four people”, and he added, “I do not know why. It was like I was outside my body looking in.”

Bendall told police: “I bet you don’t get four murders in Killamarsh do you. Well, I mean five because my Missus was having a baby.”

Defence barrister Vanessa Marshall KC said Bendall claims he had no recollection of committing the offences at the time and that his actions remain largely inexplicable and motiveless but he does feel genuine remorse and unbearable pain.

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Mr Justice Nigel Sweeney sentenced Bendall to a ‘whole life sentence’ which means he will stay behind for the remainder of his actual life. The council stated that relatives, residents and the local community were all consulted on the steps that the council needed to take prior to the demolition.