Sleepover killer who murdered partner and three children 'attacks fellow inmate with hammer in prison workshop'

13 May 2024, 05:19

Damien Bendall with his victims
Damien Bendall with his victims. Picture: Derbyshire Police

By Kit Heren

A murderer jailed for killing his pregnant girlfriend and three children is said to have attacked a fellow inmate with a claw hammer, leaving him fighting for life.

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Damian Bendall murdered Traci Harris, 35, her children John Paul Bennett, 13, and Lacey, 11, and Lacey's friend Connie Gent, also 11, during a sleepover at their home in Killamarsh, Derbyshire.

He raped Lacey as she died – having brutally assaulted them with a hammer. Bendall was given a whole-life order at HMP Frankland in County Durham.

Now he has hit a fellow prisoner in the head three or four times at , also with a hammer in a prison workshop, the Sun reported.

Damien Bendall
Damien Bendall. Picture: Derbyshire Police

The Prison Service said: "We cannot comment on a live police investigation but prisoners who are violent face tough punishments."

Durham Police added that an investigation is under way.

Watch: Chilling moment evil boyfriend calmly tells police he's murdered pregnant mum and three children

Bendall – who has a history of violence and robbery – was out of prison just three months after being given a suspended jail term for arson.

His probation officer, who examined Bendall's record for the sentencing judge in that case, has been sacked for gross misconduct after assessing the 32-year-old as "medium risk" instead of "high risk".

Bodycam footage shows chilling moment killer of woman and three children arrested

Had he been deemed high risk it is considered highly unlikely he would have been out to commit the murders.

The Telegraph said the probation officer has spent a lot of time working from home and other team members did not get as much opportunity to suggest advice or read the report.

Another officer, in the East Midlands, where the case was passed to, is also said to have been found guilty of misconduct because the case was given to a trainee.

A full review has been ordered by the Ministry of Justice which is due in the new year.

Sentencing Bendall, Mr Justice Sweeney said: "On your behalf Bendall, it is accepted that the seriousness of your offences is so exceptionally high the court must make a whole-life order. I agree.

"You are now aged 32 and have a significant background of violent offending, including robbery.

"As the prosecution have said, you carried out brutal, vicious and cruel attacks on a defenceless woman and three young children."