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Killamarsh: 'Heartbroken' father pays tribute to two children found dead
20 September 2021, 07:45 | Updated: 20 September 2021, 20:01
The father of two children found dead in a house along with another youngster and a woman has said he is "heartbroken" and "shattered" during emotional scenes at the site of the tragedy.
Jason Bennett collapsed in tears as he laid flowers at the police cordon around the property in Chandos Crescent in Killamarsh, near Sheffield.
Derbyshire Police said on Monday afternoon the victims were 35-year-old Terri Harris, her two children, 11-year-old daughter Lacey Bennett and 13-year-old son John Paul Bennett, and Lacey's friend Connie Gent, also 11, from Sheffield.
A man has been arrested. The force added that they had no previous contact with anyone involved in the incident.
Mr Bennett stayed at the scene for more than half an hour, clearly distraught and being comforted by a friend or relative.
Asked about his feelings as left, he said: "Heartbroken; million pieces; shattered."
Writing on Facebook, he said his life would "never be the same" and called his children "angels".
Police were called out on Sunday morning amid concerns for the safety of people at a house in Killamarsh, where they found four bodies.
A man has been arrested in connection with the deaths and a murder probe has started.
Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths and the incident is thought to be isolated. Close family of the people who died have been told about the tragedy.
A school in nearby Sheffield, Outwood Academy, said it would close on Monday after a "tragic incident... involving three of our students".
It is with great sadness that the academy will be closed today. A tragic incident has taken place in the community involving 3 of our students. We will however be open to any students who need our support. Continued…— Outwood Academy City (@OutwoodCity) September 20, 2021
Becky Poole, from Killamarsh, who was also laying flowers said: "I'm just absolutely heartbroken.
"I am 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."
She added: "It's Monday morning. Those kids should be going to school but they're not."
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".
"Killamarsh is such a lovely, close knit and warm community and I know that many residents will be shocked & worried by the news," he tweeted.
"This is believed to be an isolated incident with an arrest having been made. I've no doubt that the village will pull together at this difficult time."
Killamarsh is such a lovely, close knit & warm community and I know that many residents will be shocked & worried by the news. This is believed to be an isolated incident with an arrest having been made. I’ve no doubt that the village will pull together at this difficult time.— Lee Rowley (@Lee4NED) September 19, 2021
Hundreds of local residents have since carried out a vigil to pay their respects to the four victims.
Many took turns to place candles around a post in the centre of a park a few hundred metres from where they were found, while others brought flowers and teddy bears.
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 was a blue police tent in the front garden and forensics officers were conducting inquiries.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Routledge, who is leading the investigation team, said: "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 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."
Police asked for anyone with information to contact them quoting reference 302-190921.