‘Evil’ sleepover killer boasted his unborn baby was fifth victim when he murdered partner

An “evil” killer told police he had committed five murders – not four – as his unborn baby was a further victim of the attacks that have sent him to prison for life.

Damien Bendall made the disturbing comment in a police interview after being arrested for the murder of his partner, Terri Harris, her two children and one of their friends sleeping over at their Derbyshire house.

“Bet you don’t usually get four murders in Killamarsh do you?” he told officers at Ripley police station.

“Well, five [murders], because my missus was having a baby,” he added.

Bendall killed his 35-year-old pregnant partner, her son 13-year-old John Paul Bennett, 11-year-old daughter Lacey Bennett – who he also raped – and her 11-year-old friend Connie Gent last year.

The 32-year-old was handed a whole life order on Wednesday for the “brutal and vicious” attacks at the house in Killamarsh, which he shared with Ms Harris and her children, in September last year.

The court heard details of Bendall’s conversations with police – in which he repeatedly admitted to having committed the murders.

“The whole house is covered in claret,” he told officers in his police station interview, referring to slang for blood.

“I used the hammer,” he said. “I didn’t realise what I did until I walked into my room and saw my missus and my daughter.”

Bodyworn camera footage showed the moment Bendall calmy told police – who had been called to the house to reports a man had stabbed himself – that he had killed four people.

While unbuttoning his coat to show officers his injuries, Bendall said: “I know what’s going to happen. I’m going to go to prison, obviously. Again.”

An officer can be heard asking: “Why? What have you done? Have you done something to anyone else?” Bendall replied: “Yeah. I’ve murdered four people.”

Derby Crown Court was also played a recording of Mr Bendall calling 999 right before police turned up to reports of his self-inflicted injuries. “I need the police and the ambulance here now because I’ve killed four people,” he said.

Bendall, who had a cannabis habit, later told police he had consumed “three to four bags of cocaine and then blacked out”.

The trial heard how Bendall went to Sheffield after the murders to exchange an Xbox for drugs, leaving the dead bodies at the house in Chandos Crescent.

Connie Gent was sleeping over at the house at the time (Derbyshire Police/PA)

It heard details of an exchange with the taxi driver who asked how his night had been, to which Bendall replied: “Yeah not too bad. Bit mad.”

The prosecution said the driver asked Bendall what he had been up to and he replied: “Just chilling with the family really.”

During sentencing at Derby Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr Justice Sweeney told Bendall: “As the prosecution have said, you carried out brutal, vicious and cruel attacks on a defenceless woman and three young children.

“You went around the house attacking them: Terri in the main bedroom, John in the bathroom, Connie in another bedroom, and Lacey, hitting them with a claw hammer and with such ferocity, their skulls were literally smashed in.”

Lacey Bennett was killed by Damien Bendall

Damien Bendall killed his partner and three children in the attack last September

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