How 'psychopath' Damien Bendall was left free to carry out Killamarsh murder spree

Here are the key dates leading up to to the murders of Terri Harris, her daughter Lacey Bennett, her son John Paul Bennett, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent. Credit: Family photos

A formal review into probation’s handling of quadruple murderer and violent rapist Damien Bendall has laid bare a litany of missed opportunities in the months and years leading up to the Killamarsh killings.

Despite being described as "cold and calculated and quite psychopathic", Bendall was left free to murder his pregnant partner and three children on 18 September 2021.

Here are the key dates, identified by inspectors, leading up to to the murders of 35-year-old Terri Harris, her 11-year-old daughter Lacey Bennett, her son John Paul Bennett, 13, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11.


  • 7 January: Bendall reprimanded for criminal damage after throwing an egg at a woman’s house aged 13.


  • 20 April: He receives a caution for possession of cocaine.


  • 30 June: Bendall is handed his first prison sentence after being jailed for three years for the violent robbery of a lone Asian man.


  • 16 August: He is released on home detention curfew to his mother’s house.


  • 21 August: Bendall is jailed for a further three years after the attempted knifepoint robbery of a newsagent.


  • 10 May: Bendall commits grievous bodily harm and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against prison officers after being denied a prison transfer.

  • 25 May: A prison officer records that Bendall’s ex-partner contacted the prison and disclosed domestic abuse in their relationship.

  • 5 July: The same ex-partner contacts a probation officer disclosing domestic abuse in her relationship with Bendall and seeks guidance on how to obtain a restraining order.

  • 12 July: Bendall’s ex-partner contacts same probation officer to say more should be done to protect her and that she wants to speak to a manager.

  • 20 December: He is released on licence to an approved premises.

  • 21 December: Bendall recalled to prison for breaching licence after failing to report to approved premises.


  • 29 January: Bendall sentenced to 30 months in prison for the attacks on prison officers.


  • 31 October: He is released on licence to an approved premises.

  • 28 November: Bendall recalled to prison due to poor behaviour at the approved premises – including staying out all night, missing curfew and drinking alcohol on site.

A review has laid bare a litany of missed opportunities in the months and years leading up to the Killamarsh killings. Credit: Derbyshire Constabulary


  • 27 June: He is refused release in a parole review and refuses to engage with parole process again.

  • 9 August: Bendall released from prison at the end of his sentence, so no post-release probation supervision was possible.


  • 17 March: Wiltshire Police’s child sexual exploitation team contacts probation to confirm Bendall’s last known address and say they held evidence of sexual risk of harm to girls.

  • 9 May: Bendall commits arson in Swindon while using cannabis and alcohol.


  • 7 June: A member of the, then National Probation Service’s court team describes a curfew requirement for Bendall to live with Ms Harris and her children as "suitable" after not reading police evidence of sexual risk of harm to girls.

  • 9 June: Bendall handed a 17-month suspended sentence with 175 hours unpaid work, 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days, a six-month alcohol treatment requirement, and a five-month curfew requirement.

  • 6 July: Probation officer’s risk assessment of Bendall says any resumption of alcohol or drugs would increase the risk of serious harm.

  • 2 August: Bendall discloses smoking cannabis and drinking strong alcohol.

  • 13 August: Probation officer contacts children’s services asking whether a referral is suitable due to Bendall’s cannabis use, but no formal referral is made or recommended.

  • 10 September: Bendall sent initial warning after failing to comply with telephone probation appointment.

  • 19 September: Bendall is arrested in connection with the murders of Terri Harris, Lacey Bennett, John Paul Bennett and Connie Gent.

It was one of the biggest news stories of our time - and it's still not over. So what did Boris Johnson know about Downing Street’s notorious parties? With fresh revelations from our Number 10 sources, in their own words, listen to the inside story...