Killamarsh murderer was left ‘free to kill’ 3 children & pregnant girlfriend after ‘blunders by Probation S… – The Sun

A MURDERER was left “free to kill” three kids and his pregnant girlfriend after “blunders” by the Probation Service, a report has claimed.
Damien Bendall, 32, was handed a whole-life sentence this week for killing his victims with a hammer in Killamarsh, Derbyshire, last September.
The horrific murders took place just three months after Bendall received a suspended sentence for arson.
It’s now been revealed a probation officer who assessed Bendall’s record for the sentencing judge in the arson case has been sacked for gross misconduct after miscategorising him as “medium risk” rather than “high risk”.
According to probation officials, it is unlikely Bendall, who had a history of violence, would have been free to carry out the shocking murders if the pre-sentence report had accurately reflected his risk.
The probation officer in question is thought to have spent a lot of time working from home, meaning other members of the team did not get the usual opportunities to offer advice on or read the report, The Telegraph reports.
Bendall’s probation supervision was passed from Swindon, where the arson took place, to the East Midlands, where another officer has reportedly been found guilty of misconduct for allocating the case to a trainee.
The Ministry of Justice has now ordered the Chief Inspector of Probation to carry out a full review of the case.
The report is said to be released in the new year.
A report in September found that around 500 serious offences a year were being committed by offenders under supervision.
The agency has also been hit by high-profile scandals, such as Joseph McCann, who went on a rampage of sexual violence across the country while under supervision.
Terrorist Usman Khan, was being monitored when he murdered two people in Fishmongers Hall, London.
Sir Robert Buckland, who served as justice secretary until three days before the Killamarsh killings, told the paper: “I think we have to acknowledge that such an error is just an appalling failure.
“The ministry has to be as open and transparent as possible about why it happened, and most importantly to make sure the risk of that happening again is kept to a minimum, if not eliminated.
“Frankly, there should be processes in place that means various thresholds and tests would be met before that sort of fundamental mistake could be made.”
It is understood the officer who prepared the pre-sentence report in Swindon failed to access all the background information about Bendall and consequently did not enter all the crucial details into a computer system to calculate his risk.
A probation source told the news outlet: “The risk assessment came out lower than it should have been. He should have been flagged as ‘high risk of harm’ but he was graded ‘medium risk’ instead. As a result, he was allocated to a trainee – it wouldn’t have happened if he’d been ‘high risk’.”
Bendall was allowed to return to the home of his partner, Terri Harris, on condition he wore an electronic tag and regularly met the trainee probation officer.
However, during his trial it was revealed he had been using drugs and was fuelled by cocaine when he battered to death Terri and her kids John Bennett, 13, Lacey Bennett, 11, and Lacey’s friend Connie Gent, also 11, who was there on a sleep over.
Bendall then raped Lacey as she lay dying before taking a cab to Sheffield to exchange John’s Xbox for more drugs.
Sources revealed the supervisor found guilty of misconduct in the East Midlands had not done all the background reading on Bendall before allocating his case to a trainee.
The supervisor is understood to be appealing against the findings of misconduct, as they had responsibility for overseeing around 30 officers due to staff shortages in the region.
The individual did not lose his job.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “These were appalling crimes, and our thoughts remain with the victims’ families. The Deputy Prime Minister asked the Chief Inspector of Probation to conduct a review of this case, and we will respond further once this is published.”
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