Killamarsh murders: Bereaved grandmother's care packages for abuse survivors

  • Video report by Lisa Adlam

A woman whose daughter and two grandchildren were murdered in their home has started making care packages for domestic abuse survivors.

Angela Smith's daughter Terri Harris, grandson John Paul Bennett, who was 13, and granddaughter Lacey Bennett, 11, were killed by Damien Bendall two and half years ago, along with Lacey's friend Connie Gent.

Bendall, who had a history of violence, was known by the authorities to be a risk to women and children when he moved in with Terri at her home in Killamarsh near Sheffield.

Angela said she suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident.

"It's broken all of us really," she said. "I don't think any of us will ever be the same again. I know I won't."

Angela says going through life without them "doesn't make any sense".

"It should, you'd think, get easier but it doesn't. It doesn't get easier," she said.

"They're all hitting milestone birthdays - my grandson would have been 16 in December."

From a small office in Killamarsh, Angela is now making care packages for women fleeing domestic violence to distribute to refuges across the region.

Containing small essentials from toothpaste to shower gel, they are a small gesture which could make a big difference to those left with very little.

"It's just so they've got that little bag, because a lot of these women leave with nothing," she said.

"Just so they've got something that's theirs and to know that someone cares about them.

"I just hope it makes someone smile."

Clockwise from top left: Terri Harris, Lacey Bennett, Connie Gent and John Paul Bennett

The bags are tagged with a heart and a message that reads 'With love from Terri's Fight'.

The organisation was set up by Angela and family member Jade Donovan in an effort to help those affected by domestic violence.

Over the course of a few weeks, they have supplied 150 bags to various support groups.

"We want to support every woman who needs that little bit of help," Jade said.

"It's really sad that women are going through this every single day - it's lovely for us to help, but sad that this is even happening in the first place.

"But if we can continue growing then that's what we'll do."

Their mission has already outgrown Angela's kitchen where she began making the bags.

The community within Killamarsh, so horrified by the deaths of Terri, John Paul, Lacey and Connie, has rallied to donate goods and the office space where Terri's Fight is now based.

"Everyone in Killamarsh has been amazing, people on the website - without them this wouldn't have even been a thing," Angela said.

Jade added: "People go on the Facebook page and they find our wish list which they donate to and it comes straight to us.

"But if anyone wants to get in touch they can also do that through the page and we'll talk to them about how they can help us.

"We wanted to make positive change in Terri's name, to make her continue helping people because that's all she wanted to do in life," she said. "And she would have loved it."

Angela says her grandchildren would have been amazed to see her taking on the role she has.

"It keeps their memory alive," she said.

"It keeps that little bit of hope. Hope that my daughter didn't die in vain."

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