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Murdered children told ‘there’s no such thing as monsters’ by gran

Killamarsh murders: Damien Bendall arrested in 2021

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The grandmother of two murdered children is haunted by the memory of telling the youngsters there’s no such thing as monsters. John-Paul Bennett, 13, and sister Lacey Bennett, 11 would tell their grandma they were “scared of monsters” when they were younger. Heartbroken Angela Smith said: “When Lacey and John were younger, they would say ‘I’m scared of monsters’. “I would tell them, ‘There’s no such thing as monsters’. How wrong was I.” The comments come after evil murderer Damien Bendall, 32 was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his pregnant girlfriend Terri Harris, 35 her children John-Paul and Lacey and Lacey’s friend Connie Gant, also 11 who was on a sleepover at the home in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, Derby between Friday, September 17, and Monday, September 18, 2021.

Upon arrest, Bendall told police: “Bet you don’t usually get four murders in Killamarsh do you – well, five (murders) because my missus was having a baby.”

The court heard that Bendall, who has several Nazi symbol tattoos smashed his victim’s skills using a claw hammer telling police: “The whole house is covered in claret. I used a hammer”.

Louis Mably KC, prosecuting told Derby Crown Court that the attacks “were of such ferocity” that the victim’s “skulls were smashed in”.

He 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.

“The attacks were of such ferocity, in essence their skulls were smashed in and in the case of one of the children, 11-year-old Lacey, parts of her brain matter were found on the living-room floor. It was perfectly clear none of the victims stood a chance.”

Following the attack Bendall took John-Paul’s Xbox and got in taxi to exchange it for more coke.

Asked how his night had been, he told the driver, “Not too bad, bit mad” before adding he had been, “Just chilling with the family really”.

Several days later he returned to the scene, calling police and addmitting “I have killed four people”.

The court heard that in the day leading up to the murder the children had been selling sweets outside their home to raise money for charity.

A clip was played in court – a recording Connie and Lacey made on their phone with a poster they had made for their sweet stall.

Following the deaths tributes for the four victims poured in.

Jason Bennett the father of two of the children killed, said he was “lost and broken” at the news, describing his children as “angels.”

Connie’s father, Charlie said: “The hardest thing is I’m not going to get to hold her again”

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