Devastated families pay tribute to their loved ones as investigation into their death continues
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The devastated families of Terri Harris, John Paul and Lacey Bennett and Connie Gent have paid tribute to their loved ones as our investigation into their deaths continue.
Thirty-five-year-old Terri Harris, her 11-year-old daughter Lacey Bennett and her 13-year-old son John Bennett, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, also 11, died at a house in Killamarsh.
They were tragically found by officers responding to concerns for safety at a house on Chandos Crescent on Sunday 19 September.
Specially trained officers continue to work with close family members of Terri, John Paul, Lacey and Connie, and they have allowed us to share their thoughts and pictures.
Jason Bennett, father to John Paul and Lacey, said: “Life will never be the same again. Families have been left broken by the awful loss of John, Lacey, Terri and Connie.
“My son John was absolutely my mini me. Loving, fiery, funny and passionate with the most beautiful caring heart you could find. Behind his tough exterior he was the most loving son you could wish for. His love for his mum was amazing. He just wanted everyone to be happy.
“Lacey was my TikTok queen, creating dance after dance. Lacey also had another obsession, since Jack Grealish joined Man City she has become totally besotted with him, with a room full of Jack Grealish photos. Man City was her new favourite team."
Jason's partner Caroline added: “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.”
Kerry Shelton, Connie’s Mum, said: “Anyone who knows Connie knows just how special she is. Connie had an amazing imagination and was always ready to put on a show, especially at Christmas when she would write plays to act out with her brothers and sister. At birthdays, Halloween or at any given chance Connie would be organising, making or baking. She always made things so special.
“I have so many memories about Connie, but they belong to me and my children. Memories we will always cherish. I would like to thank all involved for their love and support. Connie, we will love you always and forever.”
Connie’s Dad, Charles Gent, said: “I can't believe I'm even having to say this, or these words even cross my lips. 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 ok. 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.”
Charles added: “This by far is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through; it still doesn't even feel real. Thank you to every single person who has paid tribute, sent well wishes or has helped in any way. Our thoughts are also with Jason at this time.
“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.”
Terri’s parents, Angela Smith and Lawrence Harris, have issued a joint statement in honour of their daughter. 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.
“Terri was born and raised in the east end of London until she was seventeen, when she moved to Sheffield with her mum, travelling to Essex when she could to be with her dad. She made many friends throughout her short life and remained loyal to all of them. She was an amazing mum; her babies were her world. Terri and the children were well respected in the local community and known to many of the local shopkeepers and residents.
“Terri would put herself out not just for her family and friends but anyone who needed her help. She absolutely loved her work as a care worker and would go above and beyond for the people she cared for.”
They added: “Terri was a fanatical West Ham fan and stayed loyal to them from a very young age. She was her mums rock throughout her illnesses and was absolutely idolised by all her grandparents. Terri idolised them back in return.
“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.”
We would ask that the media continue to give each family privacy at this most distressing of times.
Damien Bendall of Chandos Crescent has been charged with four counts of murder.
The 31-year-old appeared at Derby Crown Court on Friday 24 September and was remanded to prison. He is expected to appear again in November.