The devastated father of an 11-year-old girl, who was killed while sleeping at his friend’s house, is broken as he remembers their last hug.
Heartbroken Charlie Gent paid tribute to his “special baby girl”, Connie, saying it “should have been me instead of him.”
Connie was living with pal Lacey Bennett, her brother John and mother Terri Harris when she was killed in a “violent attack” on September 19.
Their bodies were found by police, who arrived at their home in Kilmarsh, Derbyshire, after receiving a call regarding the safety of a man.
talking to ITVConnie’s father urged other parents to value the time they spend with their children.
She said: “Connie was one of the best girls you’ll ever meet. She was special, she could have been anything she wanted to be.
“I would be this me instead of him, he had his whole life ahead of him.”
Asked if he can remember anything about his last day with his daughter, the grieving father said: “How good it felt to hold her and be safe made me feel.”
Charlie said that Connie and her best friend Lacey were “inseparable” and that “sleep was always a thing” for the two friends so she didn’t have to worry about him staying.
‘Worst possible nightmare’
The pair had spent their last days alive to raise money for charity.
Charlie, who identified Connie’s body, said: “This is your worst nightmare. Connie always had the ability to make me smile all the time.
“She was like my best friend. No words, I’m going to miss my baby girl.
“I’ve lost my whole world. She was one in a hundred billion, there’s no one like Connie.
“It’s the last thing you think is going to happen when your daughter is sleeping, they’re just having a great time, right?
“There are a million ways around you that can try and change, or cause, events to change — but it will eat you alive to think.”
Harris’ accomplice Damien Bendle, 31, was arrested from the scene.
He was charged with four counts of murder and remanded to custody ahead of a trial scheduled for the following spring.
The cause of death could not be ascertained even after the post-mortem report was not received.
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