Collin Reeves: Ex-commando guilty of murdering couple next door

Ex-Commando guilty of murdering couple next door while their kids slept upstairs

Collin Reeves faces a life sentence (Image: Rex)

A former army commando who stabbed his neighbors while their children slept upstairs after a long argument over the parking lot has been convicted of double murder.

Collin Reeves, 35, used the ceremonial dagger he received when he left the armed forces to kill young couple Stephen and Jennifer Chapple six times each at their home in Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton, on the evening of November 21 last year to stab in Somerset.

He was caught on security camera as he climbed over the fence separating their gardens and entered through the back door. A few seconds later, Mrs. Chapple is heard screaming in horror as Reeves yells, “Die, you f****** die”.

Ms Chapple, 33, didn’t even get a chance to get up from the sofa to defend herself, while Mr Chapple, 36, was found near the back door, Bristol Crown Court heard.

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Undated handout photo issued by Avon and Somerset Police of Jennifer and Stephen Chapple, as ex-command Collin Reeves stands trial at Bristol Crown Court, where he charged the murder of Jennifer Chapple, 33, and her teacher, 36 -Husband Stephen denies November 21 last year. Issue date: Friday June 10, 2022. PA Photo. Reeves claims he suffered from a mental abnormality at the time of the murders and admitted to the manslaughter on the grounds of diminished criminal responsibility. See PA story COURTS Norton Fitzwarren. Photo credit should read: Sam Malone/Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only for the simultaneous depiction of any event, thing or person depicted in the photo or any fact mentioned in the photo caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

Jennifer and Stephen Chapple were each stabbed six times in their own home (Image: PA)
Reeves was found guilty of double murder (Image: PA)

Reeves called the police to tell them what he had done, but later denied the murder and instead pled guilty to the manslaughter charge of diminished responsibility.

On Friday, a jury at Bristol Crown Court found him guilty of murder after deliberating for five hours and 21 minutes.

Reeves didn’t respond when the sentences were read, but his wife Kayley wept and was able to hold her husband’s hand in the gaps in the dock’s glass for a few seconds before he was led to the cells.

The Chapples’ family, seated in the stands, held hands as the verdict was announced, and many of them wept.

The court heard the Chapples and Reeves previously had a good relationship, but it had deteriorated when Ms Chapple learned to drive and bought a second car.

Lines around parking lots escalated to the point where both Reeves’ wife Kayley and Mrs. Chapple had told their friends they were afraid of running into each other on the school run.

A photo of the victims left at the scene as a tribute (Image: Tom Wren/SWNS)
Aerial shot of the scene in Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren (Image: Tom Wren / SWNS)

Ten days before the murders, Reeves was caught by a doorbell camera approaching Mrs. Chapple outside her home following an earlier exchange between her and Mrs. Reeves.

He accuses Mrs. Chapple of “making love you damn little bitch.”

The victim replies, “She started this, just fuck off,” to which he replies, “What’s that, you motherfucker, you fat bitch, you motherfucker? * … shit shit.

The Reeves were also having troubles in their own marriage, and less than an hour before he stabbed the Chapples, Mrs. Reeves had asked her husband for a trial separation.

After the murders, Reeves was recorded in the background of the 999 call telling what is believed to be his mother, Lynn, “I couldn’t torment her (or her) Kayley anymore.”

Reeves is taken into custody following his arrest (Image: Avon & Somerset Police/SWNS)

Reeves said he has little memory of the incident but recalled sitting on the stairs in tears after speaking to his wife.

He claimed he could not remember taking his dagger out of the picture frame in which it was usually displayed.

The defendant, who previously spoke of his fear of security cameras and surveillance, said the next thing he remembered was a bright light coming on and trying to get to his front.

“I felt like I was seen or compromised, white light was a trigger when I was a soldier, if a light comes on or someone sets off a flare, if that white light comes on, something’s going to happen,” Reeves said.

When asked what else he remembers, the defendant said, “I had a feeling it was me or it was them.”

Adam Feest QC, prosecutor, asked: “When your wife said you needed to separate, did you at least partially blame Jennifer for torturing (your wife)?”

He added: “I cannot allow her or her to ‘torment’ Kayley – I would like to suggest that this is an accurate expression of why you went to your neighbors’ house that night. I will suggest that this is the truth.’

At the police station, he appeared confused and gave his name “Lance Corporal Reeves, sir” and his call number.

Court artist sketch of Reeves in Bristol Crown Court dock (Image: PA)

Two forensic psychiatrists concluded that Reeves did not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis, but diagnosed him with moderate to mild depression, respectively.

Both said he may be suffering from “dissociative amnesia” – a condition common in domestic murder perpetrators when they are unable to process their act.

dr John Sandford, who appeared as a witness for the prosecution, said: “This has nothing to do with depression – it’s a reaction to a traumatic act, something that’s usually a reaction to something you did and not something you did. done to you.”

Mr Justice Garnham adjourned the hearing on Reeves’ verdict until Tuesday and thanked the jury for their work on the case.

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Justin Scacco

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