Ex-Army commando, 34, appears in court charged with stabbing couple to death after ‘parking dispute’


A former army commando appeared in court today accused of murdering his neighbours at their home after an alleged parking dispute.

Collin Reeves, 34, from Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, appeared at Exeter Crown Court on Friday via video link from HMP Exeter charged with the killings of Jennifer, 33, and Stephen Chapple, 36.

The couple were found with multiple stab wounds at a property in Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset, on Sunday night.

Detectives confirmed that the couple’s two children, five and six, were in their upstairs bedrooms while the attack took place.

Collin Reeves (pictured), from Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, appeared via video link at Exeter Crown Court on Friday charged with the killings of Jennifer, 33, and Stephen Chapple, 36

Collin Reeves (pictured), from Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, appeared via video link at Exeter Crown Court on Friday charged with the killings of Jennifer, 33, and Stephen Chapple, 36

Stephen and Jennifer (pictured) were found with multiple stab wounds at a property in Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset, on Sunday night

Stephen and Jennifer (pictured) were found with multiple stab wounds at a property in Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset, on Sunday night

Reeves (pictured in court sketch), a former soldier in the 24 Commando Royal Engineers, will next appear at Bristol Crown Court on December 23 for his plea and trial preparation hearing

Reeves (pictured in court sketch), a former soldier in the 24 Commando Royal Engineers, will next appear at Bristol Crown Court on December 23 for his plea and trial preparation hearing

They were found ‘distressed’ but unhurt and are now being looked after by Jenny’s sister at a home nearby, neighbours said. 

The court heard a specialist psychiatrist with knowledge of traumatic stress from military service has been approached to compile a psychiatric report ahead of a future plea hearing.

No bail application was made and Reeves, a former soldier in the 24 Commando Royal Engineers, will next appear at Bristol Crown Court on December 23 for his plea and trial preparation hearing.

When asked if he had heard details of the next hearing, Reeves replied: ‘Yes, it has been very clear, thank you.’

As the judge concluded the hearing, a woman could be heard shouting ‘love you Colin’ from the public gallery.

A trial was not fixed, but it is expected to take place in April or May next year.

Detectives confirmed that the couple's two children, five and six, were in their upstairs bedrooms while the attack took place. Pictured: Scene in Dragon Rise

Detectives confirmed that the couple’s two children, five and six, were in their upstairs bedrooms while the attack took place. Pictured: Scene in Dragon Rise

Floral tributes left near the scene at Dragon Rise where Jennifer Chapple, 33, and her husband Stephen Chapple, 36, were found with stab wounds on Sunday night

Floral tributes left near the scene at Dragon Rise where Jennifer Chapple, 33, and her husband Stephen Chapple, 36, were found with stab wounds on Sunday night

A specialist psychiatrist with knowledge of traumatic stress from military service has been approached to compile a psychiatric report. Pictured: Scene at Dragon Rise, Somerset

A specialist psychiatrist with knowledge of traumatic stress from military service has been approached to compile a psychiatric report. Pictured: Scene at Dragon Rise, Somerset

Before the hearing, Avon and Somerset Police warned the public not to speculate about the incident to protect Reeves’ right to a fair trial.

Detective Inspector Neil Meade, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: ‘I’d like to remind both the media and the public that criminal proceedings are now active and Collin Reeves has a right to a fair trial.

‘It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.’ 

A second man, aged 67, was arrested on suspicion of the two murders on Sunday evening, and was released under investigation on Tuesday.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that he remains under investigation. 

The force said post-mortem examinations found both Ms Chapple, 33, and her 36-year-old husband died from multiple stab wounds.

Police added that the incident on the Dragon Rise estate would be referred to the policing watchdog due to ‘prior police contact with those involved’.

Over the last few days, tributes from those who knew and worked with the couple have flooded in.

Gregg Mockridge, Headteacher at West Somerset College, where Mr Chapple worked, said: ‘Steve was a fantastic colleague at West Somerset College, a brilliant teacher that cared deeply about the students in his care. 

A second man, aged 67, was arrested on suspicion of the two murders and was released under investigation on Tuesday. Pictured: Aerial view of the scene in Dragon Rise, Somerset

A second man, aged 67, was arrested on suspicion of the two murders and was released under investigation on Tuesday. Pictured: Aerial view of the scene in Dragon Rise, Somerset

As the judge concluded the hearing, a woman could be heard shouting 'love you Colin' from the public gallery. Pictured: Scene in Dragon Rise, where police continue to investigate

As the judge concluded the hearing, a woman could be heard shouting ‘love you Colin’ from the public gallery. Pictured: Scene in Dragon Rise, where police continue to investigate

Photographs of Stephen and Jenny Chapple, floral tributes and candles have been left at the scene in Dragon Rise, Somerset

Photographs of Stephen and Jenny Chapple, floral tributes and candles have been left at the scene in Dragon Rise, Somerset

A trial was not fixed, but it is expected to take place in April or May next year. Pictured: Police officer stands at the cordoned off scene in Dragon Rise

A trial was not fixed, but it is expected to take place in April or May next year. Pictured: Police officer stands at the cordoned off scene in Dragon Rise 

‘He led innovations in the use of technology across the school as well as within his own teaching.

‘Steve will be sadly missed by all staff and students and our thoughts and prayers go out to his children and wider family at this time.’

Rob Brooks, manager of the Otter Garden Centre, where Mrs Chapple worked in the coffee shop, told MailOnline: ‘She was a well loved member of staff and a very kind person.

‘We all loved her and so did the customers. We are devastated. We will remember her as a beautiful, kind and dedicated mother and colleague. This has hit us all very hard and it feels very raw.’

Mr Brooks said that Mrs Chapple had been working at the garden centre since the start of the year.

He added: ‘Stephen and the kids would sometimes come in and we got to know them too. They were a really close knit, loving family.’

Neighbours living on the new build estate around Dragon Rise described the area as quiet, with one describing the victims as ‘very friendly’.

‘I knew them by sight but I didn’t know their names, my dog used to really like the lady.’ 



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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