Ex-soldier killed Somerset neighbor after park dispute, court hears | UK news

A former soldier stabbed his neighbors with a ceremonial dagger after a dispute over parking, shortly after his wife told him she wanted a trial separation, a court has heard.

In footage played in court, Collin Reeves shouted “Die you fuckers, die” as he carried out what he described as a “brutal and savage” attack on Jennifer and Stephen Chapple at their home in a Somerset village while their two children slept upstairs.

Bristol Crown Court jurors were told that Reeves, 35, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the Chapples and denied the murder on grounds of diminished responsibility.

Adam Feest QC, prosecutor, said that on the evening of November 21 last year, Reeves’ wife Kayley said she wanted a trial separation, telling her husband, “There’s only been so many years that I’ve put up with your shit can.”

Feest said Reeves took a dagger presented to him as he left the British Army from his frame on the wall, went into his back garden and climbed over the fence separating his house from the Chapples’ property.

A court artist's sketch of Collin Reeves in the dock
A court artist’s sketch by Collin Reeves (left) in the dock. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA

Jennifer Chapple, 33, was stabbed six times in her upper chest and shoulder while sitting on the living room sofa. Stephen Chapple, 36, was also stabbed six times. Footage captured Jennifer Chapple’s screams as the attack took place.

Reeves left his victims where they lay, climbed back over the garden fence and called the police to tell them what he had done, the court heard. Other neighbors, including a seven-year-old girl, found the Chapples in pools of blood.

Feest said the defendant and the Chapples had been at odds for a number of months over designated parking spaces outside their homes in Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton. When Jennifer Chapple was learning to drive and the couple bought a second car, she parked in a spot that did not block Reeves but made it difficult for him to maneuver his vehicle.

On one occasion in May 2021, Reeves told her, “You can’t park there,” to which she replied, “You don’t own the street.”

Later in the year, Jennifer Chapple told friends that Reeves had walked into the garden center where she worked and was staring at them in a “disturbing” way. Her concern was heightened because she knew he had been in the army, the jury was told. Reeves installed a recording device at his home that faced the parking lot.

A confrontation broke out on November 11, ten days before the murder. When Jennifer Chapple got home, Reeves came out of his house and accused her of “making the fuck out, you naughty little bitch.” She told him, “Just fuck off,” and he replied, “You damn cunt, you fat bitch, you damn cunt,” the court was told

She filed a report with the police. An officer spoke to her, but she said she did not want to take any formal action.

Feest said there was no dispute that Reeves killed the Chapples. The only question to be decided is whether he had diminished responsibility – whether his actions could be explained by the fact that he had an abnormality in mental functioning caused by an acknowledged medical condition affecting his ability to control the nature of his behavior understanding, severely impaired, form a rational judgment and/or self-control – currently.

The process goes on.

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