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Brother, 13, and sister, 11, killed with mum, 35, and school friend, 11, at sleepover, laid to rest

A brother and sister who were killed during a sleepover have been buried in a private funeral just two days after their mother was laid to rest.

John Paul Bennett, 13, and his sister Lacey, 11, were found dead alongside their mother Terri Harris, 35, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, during a sleepover last month.

Their bodies were discovered by police who had been called to reports of concerns for a man’s safety in Killamarsh, Derbyshire, on Sunday, September 19. 

 John Paul Bennett, 13, and his sister Lacey, 11, from Killamarsh, Derbyshire, were laid to rest in a private ceremony this week, just two days after the funeral of their mother Terri Harris, 35

Damien Bendall, Ms Harris’ boyfriend, is charged with all four murders and has been remanded in custody. The 31-year-old is due to stand trial in March.

The tragic siblings were buried at a private ceremony on Saturday, two days after mourners lined the streets to say goodbye to their mother.

Their heartbroken father Jason Bennett had previously asked mourners to learn and sing along to The Greatest Showman’s Never Enough at the service.

Tragic siblings John, 13 and Lacey, 11, were found dead alongside their mother Terri Harris and Lacey's friend Connie Gent, 11, during a sleepover on Sunday, September 19

Tragic siblings John, 13 and Lacey, 11, were found dead alongside their mother Terri Harris and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, during a sleepover on Sunday, September 19 

He said he would sing the song, from the Hugh Jackman blockbuster, with his ‘beautiful babies’ while driving in his car and it held special memories for him.

At Mr Bennett’s request, his children’s funeral details were kept private and only close friends and family attended the service.

He previously posted on Facebook: ‘A message to everyone attending my babies funeral. All are welcome. I have a request to anyone who can help me on the day. 

Connie Gent, 11, was at a sleepover where she was found dead alongside friend Lacey, John and their mother Terri Harris

Connie Gent, 11, was at a sleepover where she was found dead alongside friend Lacey, John and their mother Terri Harris

‘Me and my babies always used to sing a certain song in our car and belt it out like nothing else matters.

‘I’m trying to stay strong and while I’m carrying both my babies on my shoulders I’m determined to belt the song they love out loud as if we were in our car.

‘Sing along if you like and give me hope and strength and celebrate my beautiful happy babies. My love to everyone.’ 

The children’s funeral was held just days after well wishers lined the streets outside St Giles Church in Killamarsh, on the outskirts of Sheffield, for the funeral of Terri Harris.

A white carriage pulled by two horses carried the coffin of the West Ham fan, who had a blue and claret themed service in a nod to her beloved team. 

Flowers were laid on top of it as well as on top of the casket, while flowers were laid outside the chapel.

Mourners bowed their heads as the procession went by and many appeared to be sobbing.

One card read: ‘My lovely friend Terri, I will treasure the memories we made. May you and your babies rest in perfect peace.’ Two doves and blue and pink balloons were released at the end of the service.

Only close family and friends were able to attend the church service, but it was relayed on loudspeakers which could be heard within the church grounds.

The service was followed by a private cremation in nearby Chesterfield. Ms Harris, a care worker, was born in the east end of London where she lived until she was 17, when she moved to Sheffield with her mother.

The children's heartbroken father Jason Bennett had previously asked mourners to learn and sing along to The Greatest Showman's Never Enough at their funeral which was held this week

The children’s heartbroken father Jason Bennett had previously asked mourners to learn and sing along to The Greatest Showman’s Never Enough at their funeral which was held this week

Her family said she would regularly to Essex to spend time with her father.

In the wake of the tragic deaths on 19 September, the devastated father collapsed in tears as he laid flowers near the home where they were killed.

Mr Bennett stayed at the scene for more than half-an-hour, and said he was ‘heartbroken; million pieces; shattered’.

Two days before the children's funeral, mourners watched on in tears as a horse and carriage carried the coffin of Terri Harris to St Giles Church in Killamarsh, on the outskirts of Sheffield

Two days before the children’s funeral, mourners watched on in tears as a horse and carriage carried the coffin of Terri Harris to St Giles Church in Killamarsh, on the outskirts of Sheffield

Well wishers lined the streets and paid their respects for the funeral of Terri Harris

Well wishers lined the streets and paid their respects for the funeral of Terri Harris

Ms Harris' coffin is carried into the church off the carriage after it passed through the crowds

Ms Harris’ coffin is carried into the church off the carriage after it passed through the crowds

In a statement, he said: ‘Life will never be the same again. Families have been left broken by the awful loss of John, Lacey, Terri and Connie.

‘I’ve been left broken. I’m devastated. John and Lacey came into our lives and brought so much love and happiness and were adored by myself and their big sisters, forever loved and remembered.

‘We would also like to thank everyone for their loving support and our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic loss of four precious lives.’

The 35-year-old was found dead with her children John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, and Lacey's friend Connie Gent, 11, at a house in Killamarsh, Derbyshire, on Sunday, September 19

The 35-year-old was found dead with her children John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, at a house in Killamarsh, Derbyshire, on Sunday, September 19

Connie’s father Charles Gent said: ‘The pain is indescribable. I wake up every morning hoping this has all been a terrible nightmare, but it’s not. It’s the unbearable reality that my little girl has gone.

‘Connie was an absolute superstar in every way. She had a gift – if someone was down she could instantly make them feel okay.

‘She lit up every room she went in and meant something to everyone she came across, even in hard times. Connie had the ability to keep everyone smiling.

‘This by far is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through; it still doesn’t even feel real.

One card read: 'My lovely friend Terri, I will treasure the memories we made. May you and your babies rest in perfect peace'

One card read: ‘My lovely friend Terri, I will treasure the memories we made. May you and your babies rest in perfect peace’

‘Fly safe my angel. They came for you and left me behind. I could never say goodbye, so I’ll see you soon. I love you more than you can possibly imagine forever and always.’

Ms Harris’s parents, Angela Smith and Lawrence Harris, issued a joint statement through the police.

They said: ‘Our Terri, our daughter, our world, our everything. From the day she was born she was our princess and remained so until she was cruelly taken from us.

‘She was an amazing mum; her babies were her world. Terri would put herself out not just for her family and friends but anyone who needed her help.’

Pictured: Flowers left at the scene following news of the tragic deaths on 19 September

Pictured: Flowers left at the scene following news of the tragic deaths on 19 September 

They added: ‘She absolutely loved her work as a care worker and would go above and beyond for the people she cared for.

‘She will be missed more than any words can ever express, not only by her family but by anyone who had the privilege to have been in her life.’

Pictured: Damien Bendall is next due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on November 26

Pictured: Damien Bendall is next due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on November 26

An inquest opening into the deaths heard a coroner was awaiting full post-mortem reports, but said they died following a ‘violent attack’.

Chesterfield Coroner’s Court heard a relative of Bendall had called Dorset Police to say the defendant had sustained a self-inflicted stab wound.

Area coroner Peter Nieto was told cops were met by Bendall at the address and entered the house where they found the bodies. 

Bendall is due to enter a plea to the charges at Nottingham Crown Court on November 26. 


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