A veteran who stabbed his neighbors across a parking lot had “pent up feelings” about the war in Afghanistan, his wife said.
Collin Reeves, a former British Army command engineer, is on trial for the murder of Stephen Chapple, 36, and his wife Jennifer, 33.
He broke into the couple’s home in Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton in Somerset, on the evening of November 21 last year.
Reeves, 35, stabbed them both six times in a minute-long attack with the ceremonial dagger he was given when he left the army in 2017.
He then returned to his own home to call the police and tell them what he had done. When officers arrived, the couple’s children were still asleep upstairs.
Reeves, who worked as a truck driver, had been at odds with the Chapples over designated parking spaces on their newly built housing estate since last May.
The defendant has admitted to manslaughter on the basis of diminished criminal responsibility and alleges that he suffers from a mental capacity abnormality, but denies murder.
In a videotaped police interview given in the days after the murder, Reeves’ wife Kayley, with whom he was 10, said he struggled with his mental health.
She said he’s “bottled things” and hasn’t been the same since returning from Afghanistan in 2009.
A few weeks before the shooting, Mrs. Reeves said she had a “heart to heart” with the veteran, who said his head was “not in the right place.”
“He’s not right, he thinks I’d be better off without him, I wouldn’t, I love him,” she said at the time.
Ms Reeves said her husband took their two daughters to see the Christmas lights go on on the afternoon of the killings.
“I was upset in the bedroom because we hadn’t gotten along and we hadn’t talked lately, he put the girls to bed and came into my bedroom,” she told a police officer.
“I told him to go away and stuff and I said maybe we should split up for a two week trial to see how things go, I was in a bad place, I had just found out that with my brother cancer was diagnosed.
“I’ve been downstairs for a while, I’ve been upstairs watching TV, it must have been around 8:45pm when I heard screams.”
The ceremonial dagger was missing from the picture frame where it was normally displayed, Ms Reeves added.
She said she called her mother-in-law, Lynn, and said, “Come over, I think he went next door and stabbed her.”
Ms Reeves said November is a particularly tough time of the year for her husband as it coincides with Memorial Sunday.
“Every time someone died they said this poem, it always got on their nerves,” she added.
Ms Reeves said that she and her husband “promised Pinky” he would see a doctor in two weeks if he was still feeling down, adding: “It was too late.”
She said the family previously had a good relationship with the Chapples, but it deteriorated when they got a second car and interfered with Reeves’ parking lot.
Ms Reeves said Ms Chapple responded by telling them “you don’t own the road” and “your husband needs to learn to drive”.
She said from then on she was subjected to giggles and glares from the victim, to the point where she felt unable to do the school run.
Mrs Reeves blamed herself for not listening to her husband when he came to talk to her that night, and instead suggested a trial separation.
“I wish I had listened to him. He’s feeling bad. I pushed him away when he needed me most,’ she said.
The process goes on.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/09/ex-commando-who-stabbed-neighbours-to-death-wasnt-the-same-after-afghanistan-16800541/ Ex-command who stabbed neighbors 'wasn't the same after Afghanistan'