A ‘house of horrors’ where an evil killer murdered his pregnant girlfriend and three children with a claw hammer during a sleepover has been demolished.
The cobble-dotted semi-detached house in Killamarsh, Derbyshire, is to be replaced with a memorial garden for the victims of the monster Damien Bendall.
He bludgeoned Terri Harris, 35, to death at her home in September 2021. She was then pregnant with his child.
On the same night, Bendall murdered his son John-Paul Bennett, 13, his daughter Lacey Bennett, and Lacey’s best friend Connie Gent, both 11. He also raped Lacey.
He is serving a life sentence for the crimes.
The house where the murders took place has now been flattened along with the semi next door after its tenants asked the council to move.
Jack Ashbourne, who lives down the street, said he thought tearing down the house was the right thing to do and understood only the grass would be left where it was.
He said: “Of course it’s always upsetting to hear what happened there, and people don’t want to talk about it too much.”
“But many people still lay flowers there in memory of those poor people who died. They put them around the tree there.
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It’s the best thing that could be done, although I think it could have been done faster.
‘It’s been almost two years. I understand that they are going to make it a garden, a place to remember the victims, and I think people will be happy with that.
North East Derbyshire District Council, which owns the property valued at around £100,000, made the decision after tenants in the house next door asked to leave.
It was bulldozed on Friday July 21.
A spokesperson previously said: “Following their request for relocation, we have been working hard to find alternative accommodation for the neighboring family and they have recently moved into their new home.
“Since these terrible events first unfolded, we had intended to demolish the house, but were unable to act due to ongoing legal proceedings and the understandable sensitivities involved.”
Bendall was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 21 last year after admitting to the murders and rape while Lacey’s girlfriend Connie slept in the house.
Prosecutor Louis Malby KC told Derby Crown Court his victims had been subjected to a ‘hideous, brutal and cruel attack’.
The court heard that he hit them with the hammer so hard that their skulls were shattered.
She said: ‘It was abundantly clear that none of the victims were lucky.
Bendall was a well-known criminal, heavy drug user and “showed interest in other women as well”, but Terri told her mother she still intended to marry him.
Connie was at the house where Lacey and John were living with their mother and Bendall for a sleepover on September 17 and asked her if she could stay a second night.
On the day of the attacks, the children had set up a stand outside the house to sell sweets to raise money for cancer research.
That evening, Connie’s mum sent her daughter a WhatsApp message saying “goodnight” as the youngsters went to bed.
Bendall called 999 the next day using Connie’s cell phone to confess, “Basically I need the police and the ambulance now because I just killed four people.”
Bendall met the police at the door and allowed them in where horrified officers discovered the four bodies.
A review of how he was treated by probation officers revealed that a series of blunders left him free to kill.
He had a long history of violent crimes and was arraigned just three months before the murders for arson.
The failures meant Bendall was deemed fit to live with his Terri and children.
Instead, he could have been sent to prison when he was convicted of arson a few months before the murders.
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