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Collin Reeves: Ex-soldier charged with murdering husband and wife Stephen and Jennifer Chapple

A former soldier has been accused of stabbing a couple to death in Somerset while their children were asleep in their beds.

Collin Reeves, 34, has been charged with the murders of husband and wife Stephen, 36, and Jennifer Chapple, 33, in the village of Norton Fitzwarren.

He will appear at Taunton magistrates’ court tomorrow (25 November) in connection with the deaths.

A murder investigation led by Avon and Somerset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team was launched following the deaths at a property on Dragon Rise at about 9.45pm on Sunday evening.

The couple were found with serious injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene.

Their sons, aged five and six, were found by police officers asleep upstairs and are now being looked after by family members.

Detective Inspector Neil Meade, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Specialist officers are providing support to Jennifer and Stephen’s families and our thoughts remain with them this evening.

“We’ve been keeping them fully updated on the progress of our investigation and they’re aware of this latest development.

“It is undoubtedly an extremely difficult time for them and I’d ask their privacy is respected as they continue to come to terms with what has happened.”

Reeves and a 67-year old man were arrested on suspicion of murder on Sunday evening. The older man has been released under investigation.

A post-mortem examination confirmed Ms Chapple, who worked in customer services at a garden centre, died of multiple stab wounds.

A post-mortem examination to determine IT teacher Mr Chapple’s cause of death is still ongoing, Avon and Somerset Police said.

Due to prior contact with the couple, the force has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Mr Meade said: “What happened to Stephen and Jennifer is utterly heart-breaking and I can’t begin to imagine the impact their deaths will have on their two children.

“Family liaison officers are supporting both families and keeping them updated on the progress of our investigation.

“I appreciate there is significant interest in what happened and I’d ask people not to speculate and to think about the impact it may have on the families.”

Gregg Mockridge, headteacher at West Somerset College, paid tribute to Mr Chapple, saying he would be “sadly missed”.

He said: “Steve was a fantastic colleague at West Somerset College, a brilliant teacher that cared deeply about the students in his care.

“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.”


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