‘We love you, stay strong’: Ex-Army commando’s family cry support as he appears in court accused of stabbing couple to death ‘after neighbourhood parking dispute’

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  • Colin Reeves, 34, appeared at Taunton Magistrates’ Court in Somerset today
  • Reeves charged with murder of Somerset couple Jennifer and Stephen Chappell
  • Their children slept upstairs at around 9.45 pm on Sunday night, leading to the death of the couple.
  • Reeves, a former Norton Fitzwarren soldier, was in the 24th Commando Royal Engineers

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A former army commando, who is accused of killing his neighbor over an alleged parking dispute in Somerset village, appeared in court this morning.

Colin Reeves, 34, spoke during a two-minute hearing at Taunton Magistrates Court only to have his name confirmed.

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He appeared, wearing a round-neck gray sweatshirt, accused of murdering Jennifer and Stephen Chappelle.

The couple, from Norton Fitzwarren of Somerset, were stabbed to death at their home on Sunday.

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Reeves, from Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren, stands motionless as he is readied two murder charges. The ex-serviceman was taken to the courtroom by two jail officials.

Reeves’ relatives said ‘We love you’ and ‘Stay strong’ as he was on and off the court.

Reeves, a former soldier of the 24 Commando Royal Engineers, was sent back to custody to appear at Exeter Crown Court yesterday.

Colin Reeves (pictured here in a courtroom sketch), a former Army commando who appeared in court this morning was charged with murdering his neighbor neighbors in an alleged row at a parking space in Somerset Village.

Colin Reeves, 34, appeared in Taunton Magistrates' Court on Thursday in connection with the deaths of Jennifer and Stephen Chappell.

Colin Reeves, 34, spoke during a two-minute hearing at Taunton Magistrates Court only to have his name confirmed.

The couple died as their children slept upstairs at their home in Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren, on Sunday at around 9.45 pm.

Avon and Somerset police said a postmortem investigation found both Ms Chappelle, 33, and her husband, 36, died of stab wounds.  Image: Police on the spot

Avon and Somerset police said a postmortem investigation found both Ms Chappelle, 33, and her husband, 36, died of stab wounds. Image: Police on the spot

Detectives confirmed at a news conference yesterday that the couple's two children, five and six, were in their upstairs bedroom at the time of the attack.  Image: Police on the spot

Detectives confirmed at a news conference yesterday that the couple’s two children, five and six, were in their upstairs bedroom at the time of the attack. Image: Police on the spot

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

‘You lit up the street with your smile’: Friends pay tribute to the couple

Friends have paid tribute to Chappell in notes left at the scene.

A heartfelt message on one read: ‘Jennifer you light up the road with your smile. You and Steve have been such wonderful friends since you came into our lives. Such a kind and welcoming couple.

‘You have left a void that will be felt for everyone who knows you. Words cannot express how much we will miss you both.

Another message read: ‘Jenny, chick I bloody miss you.

‘Thank you for the laughter, joy and madness you have brought into my life. And thank you for sharing your family.’

An unidentified resident who lived near the couple, and whose children went to the same school and Jenny and Steven, said: ‘Jennifer was always very talkative and she loved dogs – she looked at every dog.

‘Steve was also a lovely man – he seemed very devoted to his children.’

Another nearby resident, Barbara, aged 40, said: ‘I wasn’t close to family, but whenever I saw Jennifer she was very friendly and always smiling.

‘She was always really happy and stopped in for laughs and jokes. Her hair was always shiny – just like her personality. Both of them will be greatly missed.

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Avon and Somerset Police confirmed he was under investigation.

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

‘We are keeping them fully updated on the progress of our investigation and they are aware of this latest development.

‘Undoubtedly this is an extremely difficult time for them and I would ask to respect their privacy as they continue to agree with what has happened.’

He said: ‘I want to remind both the media and the public that criminal proceedings are now active and Colin Reeves has the right to a fair trial.

‘It is extremely important that no online reporting, comments or information be shared that could in any way adversely affect these proceedings.’

Detectives confirmed at a news conference yesterday that the couple’s two children, five and six, were in their upstairs bedroom at the time of the attack.

Neighbors said they were ‘disturbed’ but unwell and are now being looked after by Jenny’s sister.

Avon and Somerset police said a postmortem investigation found both Ms Chappelle, 33, and her husband, 36, died of stab wounds.

The force said the Dragon Rise Estate incident would be sent under police surveillance due to “prior police liaison with those involved”.

Over the past few days, tributes have poured in from those who knew the couple and worked with them.

Greg Mockridge, head teacher at West Somerset College, where Mr Chappell worked, said: ‘Steve was a wonderful colleague at West Somerset College, a brilliant teacher who deeply cared for the students in his care. He pioneered innovations in the use of technology throughout the school as well as within his own teaching.

‘Steve will be missed by all staff and students and our thoughts and prayers are with his children and the wider family at this time.’

Mr Reeves lived in a three-bedroom estate on a new-build estate in the Somerset village of Norton Fitzwarren near Taunton

He is joined by IT teacher Stephen Chappelle, 36, and his garden center worker wife Jenny, 33.  lived next to

Mr Reeves (pictured) lived in a three-bedroom estate on a new-build estate in the Somerset village of Norton Fitzwarren near Taunton, next to IT teacher Stephen Chappelle, 36, and his garden center worker wife Jenny, 33.

A photo showing Stephen and Jenny that was left next to a pile of flowers outside Dragon Rise

A photo showing Stephen and Jenny that was left next to a pile of flowers outside Dragon Rise

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

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

Mr Brooks said Mrs Chappell had been working at the garden center since the beginning of the year.

He said: ‘Stephen and the kids would come in sometimes and we knew them too. They were truly a close, loving family.’

Neighbors living in the newly built estates 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 ​​really liked the woman.’

Another neighbor said he didn’t know anything was wrong even when the air ambulance arrived, and had assumed it had come from a nearby military base.

He said, ‘We all fell asleep – we only saw the police and the tapes this morning.’

Others said they heard screams and police and emergency services arrived later.

There is still a police cordon at two properties on the road, while officers are conducting a forensic investigation of the scene.

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