Why did sleepover killer Damien Bendall become a monster? Quadruple murderer who killed his partner and three children at sleepover would ‘torture kittens’, emulated a ‘bad boy relative’ and sold her belongings to fund his drug addiction
- Sick killer Damien Bendall has admitted four murders and the rape of a child
- He killed his partner, her two children and her daughter’s friend in Killamarsh
- It has been revealed by locals the murderer used to enjoy torturing kittens
- Bendall was jailed for life as the victim’s families quietly wept in court
The sick killer who murdered his partner and three children in a drug-fuelled rampage used to enjoy torturing kittens and wanted to be a ‘bad boy’, it has been revealed as he is jailed for life.
Damien Bendall admitted the killings and rape of a child in Killamarsh but has offered no explanation for his heinous crimes which have shattered the lives of their loved ones.
At the time of the slayings in September last year, he was aged 31, on a suspended sentence for arson and electronically tagged – and according to his barrister was ‘happy’ at the prospect of becoming a dad for the first time with his pregnant partner Terry Harris, 35.
He moved from Swindon, Wiltshire, to Sheffield, South Yorkshire, after meeting Terri, a care worker, on a dating website. She has split from her partner of 14 years John Bennett and dad of her two kids.
Damien Bendall admitted the killings and rape of a child during a drug-fuelled rampage but has offered no explanation for his heinous crimes
Lacey Bennett, 11, (left), John, 13, (right), and their mother Terri Harris, 35, were murdered by Bendall in the sickening rampage
Bendall’s defence put forward theories that his judgement was psychologically impaired.
He later claimed his actions were influenced by a brain injury sustained some years ago. Extensive neurological tests did not show this to be the case. Throughout the process, the CPS instructed its own medical experts to assess whether the arguments had merit, which they did not.
When all medical angles had been exhausted, the evidence that he had murdered all four victims with no impairment to his actions was overwhelming and Bendall admitted all charges.
The pair began a serious relationship in April 2020 and despite his ‘controlling and abusing’ behaviour, smitten Terry declared she wanted to marry him and have his child, and they set up home in neighbouring Killamarsh.
After the killings which left the local community reeling, some neighbours suggested Bendall had flipped after discovering the ‘early pregnancy’ which in his ‘crazed mind’ he thought may be the result of a secret affair.
But any thoughts Bendall may have had about whether he was the dad were unfounded.
Derby Crown Court heard today that Bendall was the biological father of the unborn child.
The jobless ex con and drug addict didn’t work but managed to fund his constant supply of cannabis, cocaine, morphine and meth by selling his partner’s belongings including her laptop and washing.
Sickeningly, on the morning after the quadruple killings he stole and sold Terri’s son John’s X-Box in exchange for drugs.
While in a cab returning to the bloodbath house he described as ‘being covered in claret’, he told the driver he had been ‘chilling with his family’ but added it had all ‘become a bit crazy.’
Prosecutor Louis Mably, KC, said Bendall was a ‘gangster wannabe’ and boasted about the times he and his family had been in jail.
Pictured: Bendall being arrested by police following the murders. He told officers: ‘I’ve murdered four people’
Bendall, who can be seen in a Chelsea T-shirt, whined about how he would be sent back to jail
‘I can’t kiss them and tell them I love them’: The agony of John and Lacey’s father is told to the court
Jason Bennett, the father of John and Lacey, gave a powerful victim impact statement to the court.
It read: ”The murder of my two children has destroyed and taken my life away. Life now seems pointless, going to work, everyday things, I don’t see what it means anymore. Looking towards the future is difficult and painful. If It wasn’t for my partner Caroline, I wouldn’t be here now.
‘This has impacted every aspect of my life, I can’t go to certain places, simple things like, I can longer walk down the school clothing aisle In a shop as it brings back too many memories. Occasionally I do become distracted from what has happened, then | realise they are not here and my mind goes back to the trauma of how they died.
‘I am living in a continual nightmare, I have a story in my head of how they died, I live their trauma and feel their pain, it feels like a reoccurring punishment. John and Lacey were innocent. I am angry and sad they have been taken away from me.
‘So many family and friends have been traumatised by the murders, I hurt for them, I feel their pain, this has rippled throughout our family and friends including John and Lacey’s school friends.
‘I will not see them grow up, | will not be given the opportunity to be a grandad. I am angry their life, their future has been taken away from them. I am lost without them and I need them. When I went to the hospital to see them, I promised John and Lacey I would live their life for them.
‘We try to make life normal but it is no longer normal. John and Lacey were beautiful, polite, kind, well-mannered children. John would not hurt a fly, literally, if he saw an insect he would carefully put it outside. He was very trusting and would always see the best in people.
‘On the last day of her life, Lacey was out with her friend Connie Gent raising money for charity. Lacey was kind and caring. We are devastated Connie has died along with them.
‘I’ve felt pain before, I’ve lost people and other family members before, all I dearly loved. But this pain, the pain of a parent losing not one child but two children. Their only children. Taken away from the world innocently, that’s a pain that’s ended my life too. It’s like my heart has been shattered into a billion pieces never to be repaired. I’m a shadow of my former self, I am nothing.
‘As well as taking four lives he has taken my life too. I no longer have a future, there is no hunger to succeed, life is empty, all I feel is sadness. I have lots of love and support around me, I do, but the love I crave off my beautiful kids, I can’t have that, that’s a hole that can never be filled.
‘I can’t kiss them, I cant tell them I love them and get an answer back, I feel broken that | will never get to hug them, squeeze them tight, I would give anything just to speak with them and say goodnight my beautiful.
‘I lived and worked and did the things I did for them. Now I have nothing to fight for, I’m lost without them. All | have is that each day that passes is a day I’m closer to my babies. I used to be scared of dying, because I feared I would miss out on loving and holding John and Lacey and seeing what they are doing in life.
‘I wanted to be a part of it all forever. Now I don’t fear death. I’m not scared at all. I just want the pain I feel to end. I know I can’t change anything and that makes me feel hopeless. I didn’t see John and Lacey every day, but | would speak with them or message them every day.
‘Just knowing I will never do that again fills me with an unbearable pain. I switch through every emotion, one moment I feel angry, then sadness, hopelessness and despair. Sometimes I verbally lash out. I know there are questions that may never be answered. My mental health has deteriorated. I cannot comprehend how someone could take so many innocent lives, it makes no sense.’
He has at least three past convictions for robbery, grievous bodily harm and arson.
Bendall already been in jail and had a string of prior convictions including arson, robbery and attempted robbery dating back a decade.
A source from the killer’s hometown said Bendall’s criminal acts were all part of a stated intention to ’emulate’ a ‘bad boy’ relative.
‘He always wanted to be like him [the family member] and always fell short because he [the relative] was far worse’, the source said. ‘He was open about it and would say he wanted to be a bad boy.’
The man, who used to live with Bendall in Swindon, described him as a ‘fantasist’ who boasted of hanging around with gangsters in South London.
‘It was all rubbish’, he said. ‘He’d just make things up.’
Locals said Bendall was known to have taken pleasure in torturing kittens. This tallies with an an account given in court by prosecutor Louis Mably KC that Bendall had boasted about putting down a poorly dog by beating it with a brick.
But in spite of Bendall’s prior convictions, the source said the murders were far beyond what he thought Bendall capable of.
He added: ‘The whole thing staggers me. It’s the escalation in what he’s done.
‘I always thought he was capable of killing someone. But never a woman or children. He is a big guy. He did a lot of bodybuilding when I knew him.
‘He could pick a fight with anyone in the street. He could do stupid things, but he could be very touchy-feely, and a right gentleman with his girlfriends. One of his girlfriends was such a lovely woman – way out of his league. Something must have happened. I cannot get my head around the children thing. I just cannot.’
Bendall was said to be estranged from his mother but sources said he was ‘very close’ to another relative, who took his own life in November 2020 amid a mental health crisis, the source added.
Bendall had a long running drugs problem and had previously been addicted to heroin, the man added.
He said: ‘He [Bendall] would be off his head on drugs at times but he was never violent with me. He was on heroin when he tried to rob the shop with the knife. But he was clean by the time he went back to prison for the arson.’
Derbyshire Constabulary said at the time of the murders that the force had had no prior contact with any of those involved in the murders.
After his arrest and admitting the brutal murders he told detectives: ‘I’m not going back to jail again.’
In the dock the monster showed no emotion as his victims’ families quietly wept.
His defence barrister Miss Vanessa Marshall KC told the court she needed to give a ‘possible explanation’ about his evil actions to the ‘forever shattered families.’
But she failed to explain his motive, declaring: ‘The defendant maintains he has no recollection of perpetrating the notorious offences.’
She hinted he may be suffering from the condition ‘dissociated amnesia’ and said that in the past his ‘violent nature had not been directed towards women and children.’
She said: ‘His actions remain inexplicable and motiveless.’
Miss Marshall claimed that the defendant and Terri were ‘happy together’ and were looking forward to their first planned child together – Bendall’s first and Terri’s third.
She said: ‘They had a good relationship.’
The barrister said that the defendant ’embarked upon ‘frenzied and brutal offending’ in a drug fuelled rage’ but failed to say what had triggered his horrific actions.
She said his mind may have been affected because he had taken prescribed medication for his seizure, as well as crack cocaine and alcohol.
She continued: ‘He feels genuine remorse for his actions and the pain and devastation he has caused their families with these terrible events.
‘Every day he has to live with and confront his demons.’
Bendall told detectives after his after his arrest: ‘I used a hammer and didn’t realise what I was doing.
‘Bet you don’t often get four murders in Killamarsh – there were five because my missus was having a baby.’
The family of Damien Bendall – who will go down as one of Britain’s worst and most notorious serial killers – has refused to offer any insight into what drove him to becoming a monster.
A court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Damien Bendall appearing at Derby Crown Court
His heart-broken mother Tracey-James MacKenzie, fighting back tears, politely declined to discuss her killer son.
Her father, Bendall’s grandfather Derek James, said he could not talk about his grandson.
Bendall’s divorcee father Steve declined to comment when approached at his home.
The killer’s uncle Darrell James appeared offended he had been approached by MailOnline for a possible comment and threatened to contact the authorities if his family were re-approached.
His sister also declined to discuss her monster brother.
The family live across Swindon where Bendall was based before moving North for love.
Following Bendall’s arrest, after he dialled 999 to report the multiple killings, police found him at the scene with superficial stab wounds to his chest and abdomen which were later treated with stitches in hospital.
Prosecutor Mr Mably said: ‘When he was arrested he said ‘I’ve murdered four people. I don’t know why. I blacked out. It was as if I was outside my body’ ‘
‘He didn’t appear overcome with any guilt, or feel sorry for himself.’
While on remand in custody Bennett confessed again to the murders, telling a prison officer: ‘There was lots of blood all over the walls. The whole house was covered in claret. I used a hammer. I didn’t realise what what going on.
‘There was no motivation. I had been on a cocaine binge.’
He said he had consumed three to four bags of cocaine and had ‘blacked out.’
The court heard Bendall admitted to having a ‘split personality disorder’ and was ‘prone to outbursts.’
He would give people three warnings and after the third warning tell them: ‘You’re f****d.’
But it has never been explained in court why he suddenly turned on his family and what his partner may have done, or not, to trigger such hatred and violence towards her, her two children and their friend.
The families had hoped at the killer’s plea and sentencing hearing today there would be some answers but they have sadly been left in the dark with their lives shattered.
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