Quadruple murder suspect taken to hospital with self-inflicted injuries

A 31-year-old man arrested after a mother and three children were found dead in a house was taken to hospital with self-inflicted injuries.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 3:07 pm

The bodies of John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, their mother Terri Harris, 35, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, were discovered at a property in Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, near Sheffield, on Sunday morning.

Derbyshire Police said the murder suspect was detained at the property and had only minor injuries.

The grandmother of “beautiful” John Paul and Lacey has thanked everyone who has paid tribute and laid flowers.

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Flowers near to the scene in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, near Sheffield, where the bodies of John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, their mother Terri Harris, 35, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, were discovered at a property on Sunday morning. Picture date: Tuesday September 21, 2021. PA

Diane Bennett visited the scene on Tuesday morning – a day after her son, Jason Bennett, had become distraught as he read the tributes left to his children.

Ms Bennett said: “There are so many people bringing flowers, teddy bears.”

Asked about the children, she said: “They were beautiful, well-mannered, did anything for anybody.

“But at the moment it’s my son I’m worried about. I know we’ve lost somebody but he’s lost even more. ”

Ms Bennett said: “They’ve got to stop this murdering of young kids. It’s not fair. They’re innocent little things.”

She said: “I just wish we could have done more. It’s horrible.”

Ms Bennett said John Paul wanted to be an engineer and Lacey “was just a girly-girl”.

She said: “I’ve got eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter and we’re all upset.”

Ms Bennett looked at the mass of flowers, balloons and teddy bears which have continued to grow at the police cordon, which remains at Chandos Crescent.

The police activity showed no let-up on Tuesday, with vehicles choking the quiet street and officers working in various locations, including using specialist equipment to dig out drains.

A series of forensic tents remain in the front garden of the semi-detached property at the centre of the investigation.

Derbyshire Police said the 31-year-old arrested on suspicion of murder now remains in custody.

A fundraising page set up on GoFundMe for the families of the victims has now raised more than £15,000.

Connie’s father Charlie Gent paid tribute to his daughter, writing a Facebook post which reads: “Parents – spend as much time with your kids as you possibly can.

“If you’re a parent and arguing, please don’t stop that child from seeing the other parent.

“You never know what’s round the corner… I’ve learnt the hard way, like most things in life, and it’s too late.”

Mr Gent continued: “I don’t want anyone to ever go through what I am going through right now.

“My little girl has gone I can’t even put into words or even how to feel or react right now.

“Fly safe baby girl. I love you with all my heart and always will.

“Going to miss you like crazy.”

The father of John Paul and Lacey, Jason Bennett, said on Monday that he was “heartbroken” as he collapsed in tears while laying flowers for the children.

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

Officers did not have any prior contact with those involved in the incident, police said.

The three children found dead at the property were pupils at Outwood Academy City in Sheffield and the school paid tribute to them in a statement issued on Tuesday.

It said: “We are all devastated at the loss of three of our students; John Paul Bennett, Lacey Bennett and Connie Gent.

“Our hearts are broken after this weekend’s tragic news, and we would like to offer our deepest sympathies and condolences on behalf of everyone at Outwood Academy City to the families of those affected.

“The children had bright futures ahead of them but sadly none of us will get to see this. The school community will remember them fondly.”

The statement continued: “Lacey and Connie had just embarked on their secondary school journey with us and already made a positive impression on everyone they came into contact with.

“John Paul was a popular and polite young man, well-liked by staff and with a close-knit group of friends.”

Around 300 people gathered on Monday evening for a vigil in a park a few hundred yards from the police cordon, where they placed candles, flowers and teddy bears.