Ex-soldier who killed neighbors in park row to appeal army trauma verdict


Ex-soldier Collin Reeves has been sentenced to at least 38 years for the murder of neighbors Jennifer and Stephen Chapple, but his parents believe the sentence was too harsh because of his mental health issues

Killer Collin Reeves while in the Army with 24 Commando Royal Engineers
Killer Collin Reeves while in the Army with 24 Commando Royal Engineers

The family of a war veteran jailed for killing his neighbors in a park row wants his minimum sentence reduced.

This week, Collin Reeves, 35, was sentenced to at least 38 years in prison for the murders of Jennifer and Stephen Chapple. But the killer’s parents are talking to lawyers to reduce the sentence.

Reeves’ mother, Lynn Reeves, 68, said prosecutors only learned full details of her son’s mental health issues days before the trial.

“You can’t condone what Collin did. He knows he deserves to be punished. But we think he was let down by the psychiatrists who assessed his mental health for the court.

“His legal team was shocked by the length of the sentence and is considering an appeal.”

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Collin Reeves on the night he was arrested for the murders


Avon Somerset Police / SWNS)

Days before the killings, Ms Reeves and husband Brian said their son broke down in tears as the Last Post aired a memorial day TV program.

Ms Reeves said: “Psychiatrists decided he was only suffering from mild or moderate depression and that influenced prosecutors in their denial of his manslaughter.”

She believes if prosecutors had had enough time to consider forensic clinical psychologist Karen Gough’s diagnosis, her son’s manslaughter case would have been accepted.

dr Gough diagnosed complex post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, avoidance issues and detachment, but a mix-up of email details meant she didn’t see him until a week before his court hearing.

Reeves was a private with 24 Commando Royal Engineers at Camp Bastion, Helmand, Afghanistan, guarding terrorist prisoners.

The victims of Collin Reeves, Stephen and Jennifer Chapple



Retired carer Ms Reeves said: “He was disappointed when he was made redundant. There was no follow up. No assessment of possible PTSD issues.”

In November 2021 he climbed a garden fence, entered the Chapples in Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset and stabbed Jennifer, 33, and Stephen, 36, in their living room with a ceremonial dagger he had been given when he left the army. Her two sons were sleeping upstairs and the attack lasted less than a minute.

Screaming Mrs. Chapple was killed on the sofa and Mr. Chapple was found lying near the back door.

Reeves then returned home, dialed 999 and confessed. For six months he had been at odds with the Chapples over designated parking spaces in the newly built housing estate.

Collin Reeves with his head in his hands as he is questioned by police about the murders


Avon Somerset Police / SWNS)

And just 40 minutes before the attack, Reeves’ wife Kayley, mother of their two children, had requested a trial separation.

Bristol Crown Court Judge Mr Justice Garnham said the killings had “ripped the hearts out of two perfectly normal, decent families”.

Ms Reeves said: “Given what we now know about his mental health, should that sentence be 38 years in prison?”

Joanna Clark of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Reeves attempted to evade responsibility for murder by claiming his actions were the result of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Two psychiatrists agreed that although Reeves suffered from mild to moderate depression, this was not enough to be considered abnormal mental functioning that could lead to reduced responsibility.

“Our thoughts are with Jennifer and Stephen’s family.”

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