Damien Bendall has appeared in court charged with killing his girlfriend, her children, and one of their friends at a sleepover.
A man has appeared in court accused of murdering his girlfriend, her two children and one of their friends at a sleepover.
Damien Bendall, 31, allegedly killed 11-year-old Lacey, her brother John, 13, and best friend Connie Gent, 11, at a home in Killamarsh, Derbys, on Sunday.
He is also accused of murdering his partner Terri Harris, 35, who is mum to little Lacey and John.
Bendall has now been charged with four counts of murder between September 17 and September 20.
The Sun reports that he appeared via videolink from Ripley police station at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court this afternoon.
The suspect, who wore a grey sweatshirt and grey jogging trousers, spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.
He kept his head bowed during the short hearing.
Bendall was remanded in custody to next appear at Derby Crown Court on Friday.
Officers were scrambled to the home on Sunday morning after receiving a call for the safety of a man.
They discovered the four tragic victims dead at the scene.
Bendall was taken to hospital to be treated for “self-inflicted minor injuries” before being moved to custody.
Police confirmed a murder probe had been launched and said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the “isolated” incident.
They also said they had no prior contact with those involved.
Tributes have flooded in for Terri, Lacey, John and Connie, who had been at the home for a sleepover.
Lacey and John’s dad Jason Bennett wept as he laid flowers for his children close to the home where they were found dead.
He addressed a floral tribute to his “TikTok queen” Lacey, saying he was “lost without you”.
A note read: “Look after your big brother and don’t wind him up.”
Mr Bennett also left a handwritten note at the house for John, reading: “My beautiful son, keep your kind heart shining while the angels are looking after you for me.”
He earlier posted a devastating tribute on Facebook alongside touching images of Lacey and John.
“Absolutely broken my heart into a million pieces.
“I didn’t protect my beautiful babies enough from the monsters and now they have been suddenly taken away from me.
“I’m writing this as I’m lost and broken on a 4 hour drive back home having just received heartbreaking news that my beautiful boy John and beautiful daughter Lacey have been taken away from me. Their mum Terri also lost her life and Lacey’s best friend was also taken away from the world.
“Life will never be the same. I love you both more than anything. Please look after each other.
“Gone too soon with so much to live for. I wish I could hold you and kiss you and tell you how much I love you. Thank you for making my world. All my love dad. Xxx”.
Connie’s dad Charlie Gent paid tribute to his daughter, asking: “My Baby Girl whhhhyyy”.
He also urged parents to spend as much time with their kids “as possible” and said his “world” had been “taken away”.
Mr Gent added: “My little girl has gone I can’t even put into words or even how 2 feel or react rite now shouldn’t even be writing this.
“Now have 2 live with the fact I was helpless 2 protect her as u always promised n she’s gone.
“Fly safe baby girl I love you with all my heart n always will. Gonna miss u like crazy”.
This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission
Originally published as Damien Bendall charged with killing Terri Harris, her kids John and Lacey and their friend Connie Gent