Connie Gent had been staying over Lacey Bennett’s house last year when Damien Bendall brutally murdered the two young girls along with his pregnant girlfriend, Terri Harris and her son John Paul Bennett.

An 11-year-old girl who was tragically murdered at her friend’s home was meant to return home the evening she lost her life but asked her mother for permission to stay over another night. Connie Gent had been staying at her friend Lacey Bennett’s house in Killamarsh, Derbyshire last year on September 19 when Damien Bendall, 32 killed both of the youngsters.

Today Bendall admitted to the murder of his 35-year-old pregnant girlfriend, Terri Harris. her daughter Lacey, 11, her son John Paul Bennett, 13 and Connie who had been over for a sleepover, the Mirror reports. The twisted killer who murdered the family and the children’s friend also pleaded guilty to raping Lacey during the ‘brutal. vicious and cruel attacks’.

The court heard the twisted killer smashed the victim’s skulls using a claw hammer and then left the scene to trade in John Bennett’s Xbox console for drugs. Bendall, who has been sentenced to jail for the rest of his life, told police he had consumed around ‘three to four bags of cocaine and then blacked out’.

Connie was only meant to be staying at the family’s home for one night but was granted permission by her mother to stay over again on the evening she lost her life. Prosecutor, Louis Mably said that the children were all called in to brush their teeth and were sent to bed at 10pm. 13-year-old John had sent his father a text message that night about a Christmas gift he was hoping to receive from him.

Mr Mably said: “During the day the girls and John spent the afternoon outside the house, selling sweets in order to fundraise for Cancer Research. Happy and go-lucky.

“This was in fact recorded in part on the girls’ mobile telephones and other parts of their movements in that afternoon were recorded on local CCTV.” The court heard the recording that Connie and Lacey had made on their phone about a poster they had created for their sweet stall.

Mr Mably continued: “Terri asked them to come home just before 8pm. From about that time, the three children were inside the house.

“The text messages, as I say, sent between Terri and her children that day showed she was a caring and loving mother who enjoyed a close and loving relationship with them. Just after 9pm Connie’s mother sent a WhatsApp message to Connie wishing her ‘goodnight’ and Connie replied immediately saying good night to her mother.”

Mr Mably continued: “Connie’s mother recalls that at around 21.30 she overheard a FaceTime conversation between her older daughter and Libby and John Bennett. In her recollection, the conversation lasted for approximately 30 minutes.

“Connie’s mum hears the sound from Chandos Crescent. They were having a last run around.

“The last message was sent at 9.42pm, when John indicated to his mother that he would have a shower before going to bed. There then comes a point of trying to pinpoint when the attacks took place.

“There was no sound emanating that could be heard by a neighbour. What the evidence indicates is that sometime after 9.42pm, the attacks began.

“The facts were the children were going to bed and the defendant was in the house. Telephone evidence shows at 7.50pm he had been in the house trying to make contact with his drug dealer, telephoning the dealer of cocaine it appears he had cocaine to sell and it appears he was sending messages out to his clients at that time.”

The evil crime was detailed by The Crown’s KC who also revealed that a post-mortem paternity test confirmed that Ms Harris was killed while carrying Bendall’s unborn child. The monster was sentenced for four counts of murder and one count of rape for his ”truly hideous and dreadful” crimes.

High Court judge Mr Justice Sweeney told him: “On your behalf Bendall, it is accepted that the seriousness of your offences is so exceptionally high the court must make a whole-life order. I agree.

“You are now aged 32 and have a significant background of violent offending, including robbery. As the prosecution have said, you carried out brutal, vicious and cruel attacks on a defenceless woman and three young children.”

The 32-year-old cold blooded killer did not react or show his face when he was sentenced nor when he was being led away by officers.


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