Father pays tribute to his ‘shining star’ killed during Killamarsh sleepover

Connie Gent was killed while staying with her best friend Lacey and Lacey’s family.

Killamarsh deaths
Killamarsh deaths

A father has paid tribute to his “sweet little girl” who was among four people killed during a sleepover at her best friend’s house.

Charlie Gent said he feels like he let down his 11-year-old daughter Connie and “the hardest thing is I’m not going to get to hold her again”.

The bodies of Connie, her friend Lacey Bennett, also 11, Lacey’s 13-year-old brother John Paul Bennett, and the siblings’ mother Terri Harris, 35, were discovered at a property in Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, Derbyshire on Sunday morning.

Mr Gent told ITV News: “Connie was such a special and sweet little girl.

“She was my little sidekick. She was my rock, my shining star, my angel.

“I feel like I was her hero, and I let her down,” he added.

“Connie liked her music and she loved to sing. She also loved TikTok. She touched everyone she met.

“Lacey was her best friend. All she ever did was talk about her when she came to stay at mine.

“We used to argue about silly things, like who would have the last chocolate. She was grateful for everything and she didn’t expect anything.

“She was one of the nicest girls you would ever meet. The hardest thing is I’m not going to get to hold her again.”

Killamarsh deaths
Floral tributes at the scene in Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh (Danny Lawson/PA)

Derbyshire Constabulary said the bodies were found after police responded to a call about concerns for the safety of a man at the address at 7.26am.

Damien Bendall, 31, appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court in Derby by video-link on Wednesday and was remanded in custody charged with four counts of murder.

Bendall, who appeared in the video-link from the county’s Ripley police headquarters, was wearing a grey sweater and jogging bottoms.

He spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, and his address as Chandos Crescent.

The charges against Bendall allege that he murdered all four victims on a day between Friday September 17 and Monday September 20.

Deputy District Judge Gary Garland ordered him to appear at Derby Crown Court on Friday.

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