Father of children among four found dead in house ‘heartbroken and shattered’

The father of two children found dead in a house along with another youngster and a woman said he is “heartbroken” and “shattered” during emotional scenes at the site of the tragedy.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 3:10 pm
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 3:12 pm

Jason Bennett collapsed in tears as he laid flowers for his children John, 13, and Lacey, 11, at the police cordon around the property in Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, near Sheffield.

The children were found at the house alongside their mother, named locally as Terri Harris, and a friend of one of the children.

Mr Bennett stayed at the scene for more than half-an-hour, clearly distraught and being comforted by a friend or relative.

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A member of the public lays flowers at the scene in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, near Sheffield, where four people were found dead at a house on Sunday. Derbyshire Police said a man is in police custody and they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths. Picture date: Monday September 20, 2021. PA

Asked about his feelings as left, he said “heartbroken; million pieces; shattered”.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “I’m broken, I just want to kiss my babies.

“I just want to kiss them and hold them. TikTok Queen and my beautiful boy, they were beautiful.”

His message to his daughter left with flowers at the scene said: “To Lacey, my TikTok Queen.

Floral tributes at the scene in Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, near Sheffield, where four people were found dead at a house on Sunday. Derbyshire Police said a man is in police custody and they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths. Picture date: Monday September 20, 2021. PA

“Lost without you. Look after your big brother and don’t wind him up. Soon I will be there to kiss you, hold you tight and make it all better.”

His message to his son said: “To John, my beautiful son, keep your kind heart shining while the angels are looking after you for me.”

Mr Bennett’s parents Debbie and Trevor Bennett also arrived at the scene.

Mrs Bennett said: “I can’t understand why he had to take them all. Why take the kids? We are just heartbroken.”

They said their son was on holiday when he found out about the tragedy.

She said both children loved football – Lacey was a “proper” girl and John enjoyed his computers.

She said: “I don’t know how he’ll (Jason) come through this. He’s going to need a lot of strength.

Derbyshire Police said they were called to the house at around 7.25am on Sunday and found the bodies of four people. A murder inquiry has been launched and one man is in custody.

Becky Poole, from Killamarsh, who was also laying flowers, said: “I’m just absolutely heartbroken. I’m also a swimming teacher and I knew the kids.

“Derbyshire Police need to do more. I know this is probably an isolated incident, but there’s too much.

“Killamarsh used to be a really nice village. You could walk around. Now people are scared to go out.”

One man living near-by said: “I’m shocked. I think people will be devastated.”

The man, who has lived in his home for just over a year, said he believed the family who live in the house at the centre of the investigation had been there for five or six months.

He said the children used to play in the front garden, near his home.

On Monday morning, Chandos Crescent remained sealed off with a number of police officers patrolling the street and many police vehicles parked in the surrounding streets.

The house is semi-detached, of a prefabricated design, with a large playing field on one side, which was also cordoned off. There was a blue police tent in the front garden and forensics officer were conduction inquires.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Routledge, who is leading the investigation, said on Sunday evening: “We would really like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the early hours of this morning, or has any information which they think could help with our inquiries.

“No matter how small you think that information may be, please do get in touch with us.

“It is understandably a worrying time for the community and we would like to thank them for their patience and understanding at this time.

“It was important to us that close relatives of those involved were informed before we could give further details about the incident.

“Residents will continue to see a large police presence in the area and patrols are being carried out for reassurance.

“If you do have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to speak to them.”

North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley offered his condolences following the “terrible and hugely tragic” incident.

“Terrible and hugely tragic news from Killamarsh this evening. Our condolences to the family and our thoughts are with them,” Mr Rowley said on Twitter.

The Tory MP also paid tribute to Killamarsh as a “lovely” community” which would show its resilience “at this difficult time”.