A 31-year-old man is to stand trial next year charged with four counts of murder after a mother and three children were found dead in a house.

The bodies of John Paul Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, their mother Terri Harris, 35, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, 11, were discovered at a property in Chandos Crescent, Killamarsh, near Sheffield, on Sunday morning.

Damien Bendall appeared by video-link at Derby Crown Court on Friday wearing a grey round-necked sweatshirt. He spoke only to confirm his name and that he could hear and see proceedings during a short hearing.

Damien Bendall sketch
Damien Bendall appearing at Derby Crown Court by video-link (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Derbyshire Constabulary said the bodies were found after police responded to a call about concerns for the safety of a man at the address at 7.26am.

The charges against Bendall allege that he murdered all four victims on a day between Friday September 17 and Monday September 20.

The defendant appeared from HMP Wakefield and was told he would face a trial on March 1 next year.

He was not required to enter any pleas to the murder charges.

Killamarsh deaths
The father of some of the victims leaves flowers at the scene (Danny Lawson/PA)

Remanding Bendall into custody, Judge Nirmal Shant QC said: “Your trial will be fixed for March 1 but before that date there will be a review of this case on November 26.

“Mr Bendall, you will be remanded in custody. Thank-you very much.”

Bendall, of Chandos Crescent, will now appear at Nottingham Crown Court on November 26.