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Everything you need to know about '#DEAD2ME'

Terri Harris
Image: Terri Harris was murdered by Damien Bendall, a man who she met through an online dating service | #DEAD2ME

The advancement of technology and the internet has touched the lives of people all over the world. While most of their impacts can be seen as positive, social media and online dating have led to innocent victims connecting with people who have ultimately ended their lives.

#DEAD2ME is a brand-new show for Crime + Investigation, that looks at how relationships which started online all took turns for the tragic and ended in the worst possible ways.

#DEAD2ME airs Mondays at 9pm on Crime + Investigation and is available to stream on Crime + Investigation Play.

What is #DEAD2ME about?

With testimony from those closest to each case, #DEAD2ME explores the stories of 10 couples whose relationships were borne out of the digital age. However, while each relationship started promisingly enough, they all came to devastating conclusions.

Each of the shocking episodes draws upon intimate interviews with the friends and family who witnessed these tragic events and paints a picture of the couple’s unique story.

What happens in the first episode of #DEAD2ME?

Terri Harris was a single mum living with her two children in the village of Killamarsh in Derbyshire. After splitting with her partner of 15 years in 2020, she turned to online dating to find her next romantic connection. That is where she met Damien Bendall.

The relationship seemed to start ordinarily enough, but after just a few weeks, Bendall had moved from Swindon and was living in Terri’s home with her two young children. Warning signs immediately started to appear for her family and friends, including details of his criminal past, but Terri was very much in love.

When Bendall was sent to court for arson in March 2021, Terri’s parents hoped he would be sent to prison and their daughter would be able to escape the relationship. However, he received a five-month suspended sentence, put on probation and ordered to observe a curfew at Terri’s home.

On 18th September 2021, Bendall killed Terri, her two children and one of her daughter’s friends who was staying for a sleepover. Terri was also pregnant at the time of her death.

What is a key moment from the first episode of #DEAD2ME?

The morning after the murders, Bendall phoned the emergency services to tell them that he had just killed ‘four people’. His use of the word ‘people’ showed a real disconnect from the victims, rather than the woman he was supposedly in love with and the children he had acted as a father figure for.

The episode also includes police bodycam footage from Bendall’s arrest, where he appears eerily calm and composed. Police were also able to source CCTV footage that showed him selling one of the children’s games consoles for drugs after the murders.

Who are the contributors to the first episode?

The opening episode of #DEAD2ME includes incredibly emotional interviews with Terri’s parents, Angela Smith and Lawrence Harris. Despite divorcing when she was 12, the former couple came together to tell the story of their only daughter’s life and premature death. It’s clear to see how traumatic the last few years have been for them and they keep reiterating how helpless they felt watching a man they didn’t trust work his way into Terri’s and their grandchildren’s lives.

The producers also interviewed Holly Holmes, Terri’s childhood best friend who she still spoke to every day. Holly talks about the memories of her fun-loving friend and how she desperately misses her.

There’s also an expert contribution from Dr Honor Doro Townshend, a criminologist who explains, among other things, how Bendall coercively controlled Terri. He listened in to her phone calls, followed her everywhere and just generally wore her down until she was withdrawn, isolated and a shadow of her former self.

Finally, barrister Sallie Bennett-Jenkins KC discusses Bendall’s sentence as well as the failings of the probation services who missed multiple opportunities to prevent these murders.

What’s happening in future episodes of #DEAD2ME?

There is a total of 10 episodes in this series of #DEAD2ME that each involved a different case from around the UK and Ireland. Upcoming episodes feature the murder of Jennifer Poole, who was killed in Dublin by her ex-partner, Gavin Murphy.

There is also the fatal stabbing of Tai O’Donnell, a teenager from Croydon, at the hands of his 24-year-old partner Kamila Ahmad, and Ashley Wadsworth, who was left with countless wounds after being brutally attacked by her boyfriend, Jack Sepple.

What to watch next on Crime + Investigation Play?

If you enjoyed #DEAD2ME then be sure to watch Meet, Marry, Murder on Crime + Investigation Play. One of the most popular shows on the streaming service, Meet, Marry, Murder focuses on cases that involved victims being murdered by their spouses.