Father of children found dead in house ‘heartbroken’ as all four victims named

Father of children found dead in house ‘heartbroken’ as all four victims named

He laid flowers at the house

The father of two children found dead in a house said he is “heartbroken” as police named all four victims.

Jason Bennett collapsed in tears as he laid flowers for his children John Paul, 13, and Lacey, 11, at the police cordon around the property in Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, near Sheffield.

Derbyshire Police said their mother, 35-year-old Terri Harris, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, were also found dead at the property on Sunday morning.

Mr Bennett stayed at the scene for more than half-an-hour on Monday, clearly distraught and being comforted by a friend or relative.

Asked about his feelings as left, he said “heartbroken; million pieces; shattered”.

The force said a 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody.

Officers did not have any prior contact with those involved, police added.

In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “This has been an understandably shocking event that has deeply affected the local community in Killamarsh, as well as Connie’s family and friends in Sheffield, and our thoughts are also with them.

“I would also like to state my thanks to those officers who arrived at the scene with such speed as well as colleagues from the East Midlands Ambulance Service who attended the incident.

“All acting with immense professionalism in such a difficult situation.

“While understandably worrying and upsetting this is believed to be an isolated incident in which those involved were known to one another and nobody else is being sought in connection with the deaths.

“The force did not have any prior contact with those involved.”

Mr Bennett left flowers at the scene with a message to his daughter which said: “To Lacey, my TikTok Queen.

“Lost without you.

“Look after your big brother and don’t wind him up.

“Soon I will be there to kiss you, hold you tight and make it all better.”

His message to his son said: “To John, my beautiful son, keep your kind heart shining while the angels are looking after you for me.”

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Bennett said: “I’m broken, I just want to kiss my babies.

“I just want to kiss them and hold them.

“TikTok Queen and my beautiful boy, they were beautiful.”

Mr Bennett’s parents Debbie and Trevor Bennett also arrived at the scene.

Mrs Bennett said: “I can’t understand why he had to take them all.

“Why take the kids?

“We are just heartbroken.”

They said their son was on holiday when he found out about the tragedy.

She said both children loved football, Lacey was a “proper” girl and John enjoyed his computers.

She said: “I don’t know how he’ll (Jason) come through this.

“He’s going to need a lot of strength.

Derbyshire Police said they were called to the house at around 7.25am on Sunday and found the bodies of four people.

Becky Poole, from Killamarsh, who was also laying flowers, said: “I’m just absolutely heartbroken.

“I’m also a swimming teacher and I knew the kids.

“Derbyshire Police need to do more.

“I know this is probably an isolated incident, but there’s too much.

“Killamarsh used to be a really nice village.

“You could walk around.

“Now people are scared to go out.”

One man living near-by said: “I’m shocked.

“I think people will be devastated.”

The man, who has lived in his home for just over a year, said he believed the family who live in the house at the centre of the investigation had been there for five or six months.

He said the children used to play in the front garden, near his home.

On Monday morning, Chandos Crescent remained sealed off with a number of police officers patrolling the street and many police vehicles parked in the surrounding streets.

The house is semi-detached, of a prefabricated design, with a large playing field on one side, which was also cordoned off.

There are a number of blue police tents in the front garden and forensics officers were conducting inquiries.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Routledge, who is leading the investigation, said on Sunday evening: “We would really like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the early hours of this morning, or has any information which they think could help with our inquiries.

“No matter how small you think that information may be, please do get in touch with us.

“It is understandably a worrying time for the community and we would like to thank them for their patience and understanding at this time.

“It was important to us that close relatives of those involved were informed before we could give further details about the incident.

“Residents will continue to see a large police presence in the area and patrols are being carried out for reassurance.

“If you do have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to speak to them.”

North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley offered his condolences following the “terrible and hugely tragic” incident.

“Terrible and hugely tragic news from Killamarsh this evening.

“Our condolences to the family and our thoughts are with them,” Mr Rowley said on Twitter.

The Tory MP also paid tribute to Killamarsh as a “lovely” community” which would show its resilience “at this difficult time”.

Urging any witnesses to come forward, Ms Swann added: “A team of detectives have been working through the night to understand the circumstances that led to their deaths and I would urge anyone with any information to come forward.

“Of particular interest is anyone who was in the Chandos Crescent area between 9.30pm on Saturday evening and 7.30am the following day and who may have information that would be helpful to the investigation.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub
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