Jennifer and Stephen Chapple (Picture: Avon and Somerset Police).

Afghanistan veteran jailed for life for murdering neighbours

Collin Reeves killed Stephen and Jennifer Chapple at their home in Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton, Somerset.

Jennifer and Stephen Chapple (Picture: Avon and Somerset Police).

An Afghanistan veteran who stabbed his neighbours to death while their young children slept upstairs following a long-running dispute over parking, has been jailed for at least 38 years.

Collin Reeves knifed Stephen and Jennifer Chapple six times each at their home in Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton in Somerset, on the evening of 21 November 2021.

The 35-year-old former Royal Engineer Reeves, also of Dragon Rise, used a ceremonial dagger given to him when he left the Army to kill the couple.

Reeves had been involved in a row with them over designated parking on the new-build housing development since the previous May.

Reeves himself called the police just a few minutes after the killings to confess what he had done, but later denied murder, claiming he was only guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

But two forensic psychiatrists found he was not suffering from psychosis or acute post-traumatic stress disorder and diagnosed him with only mild to moderate depression.

A jury at Bristol Crown Court heard that Reeves had also been having trouble in his own marriage, and that less than an hour before he stabbed the Chapples, his wife had asked for a trial separation.

Reeves was unanimously convicted of murder last Friday after jurors deliberated for five hours and 21 minutes.

Jailing Reeves for life with a minimum term of 38 years, Mr Justice Garnham said the killings had "torn the heart out of two perfectly normal, decent families".

Mrs Chapple's mother, Ann Clayton, said in a victim impact statement: "For a mother to lose a child is something that causes never-ending pain, knowing there will forever be a darkness inside you, a light switched off that can never be replaced."

She described her daughter as "an exuberant, caring, beautiful light in the world".