Ex-squad ‘triggered’ by security light in garden before stabbing neighbors

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An ex-commando has told a jury he was “triggered” by garden security lights that reminded him of a “war zone” before stabbing his neighbors with a ceremonial dagger.

Former soldier Collin Reeves was outside with the dagger when the “flash” of white light put him on high alert, a court has heard.

A jury was told how the 35-year-old went into the ‘buckle’ position on the floor but claims he has no recollection of what happened next at the couple’s home.

Reeves has since accepted he used the ceremonial dagger to stab and kill married couple Jennifer, 33, and Stephen Chapple, 36, at their home in the village of Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset.

They had previously fallen out over a dispute over a parking space six months before the brutal murder on November 21 last year, the court heard.







Tributes to Jennifer, 33, and Stephen Chapple, 36
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Tom Wren / SWNS)

He said he’s now accepted killing the couple and using the words “Die, you f***er, Die” while attacking them – but claimed he didn’t want or plan to kill them in advance.

As he took the witness stand during his trial today, he told the jury he was ashamed of what he did and said he had no idea why he did it.

He said he’s now accepted killing the couple and using the words “Die, you f***er, Die” while attacking them – but claimed he didn’t want or plan to kill them in advance.

He said: “I’m ashamed – disgusted with myself for what I’ve done. For the pain and suffering I’ve caused.

“That [children] will never see their mother and father again because of me. I can’t understand why I did that.”






Colin Reeves, the ex-commando

Referring to the day of the killings on November 21 last year, he said he was in Taunton town center to switch on the Christmas lights and last weekend visited the poppies laid out at the war memorial on Remembrance Sunday.

Returning to his home in Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset, he got into an argument with his wife Kayley, who told him she wanted to separate, the court heard.

Reeves said: “She said a trial breakup, but it didn’t feel like it. We hadn’t gotten along for so long.”

He said he remembered sitting on the stairs crying, with the dagger in a frame “at the bottom of the stairs.”







Reeves and the couple had been involved in a lengthy dispute over a parking space, the court heard
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Picture:

Tom Wren / SWNS)

He continued: “I remember seeing a white light coming from the garden light (of the Chapples’ house) at the back of their house.

“When the light came on, I remember I was on one knee. It felt like I was seen. The white light was always a trigger for something, like someone triggering a trip-torch.

“It felt like something was about to happen. What you’re training in this situation is to take cover.

“I was trying to get on my belt buckle and lie on my stomach so I wouldn’t be seen or have somewhere to hide.”







Stephen and Jennifer Chapple
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Avon and Somerset Police / SWNS)

Reeves accepted that he would have had the dagger in his hand at the time, but claims he does not recall removing it from the frame at the base of his stairs.

He said he remembers a door handle being “beaten down” but denies remembering being at the Chapples’ home and stabbing them.

“The next thing I remember, my wife was screaming when I was in the living room,” he added.

Bristol Crown Court heard he was on the phone to police less than five minutes after he returned to his home.







Reeves stabbed the parents with a ceremonial dagger, the court heard
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Tom Wren / SWNS)

During the 999 call, he told the handler he stabbed his neighbors with a dagger and also gave a description of where they were in the house, the court heard.

However, Reeves denied remembering anything about the call, the court was told.

After his arrest and during the inquest in custody, he gave the officer his army number and referred to himself as Lance Corp Reeves – although he had left the military several years earlier, the court heard.

In video footage shown to the jury, he told officers he was “confused” as “I was just doing my job — it was surgery.”

Delivering evidence today, he added: “I was just in shock. It wasn’t the reality. It was almost a dream. I couldn’t understand how or why. How can I tell someone else? How can I explain?

“I don’t understand why I did what I did.”







Officers were called to the scene around 9:45 p.m. on the night of the attack last November
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Tom Wren / SWNS)

Under cross-examination, Reeves was asked why he did not comment to police during the initial interview.

He replied: “I couldn’t understand or comprehend what had happened. But I knew what happened, so I worried about what they would ask me, how I could explain it.

“I was in shock the whole time I was in police custody and at the beginning of my detention. Due to the shock I was in, I felt it best not to comment in this situation.”

Reeves said he couldn’t remember the call to the police confessing what he had done.







local police
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Tom Wren / SWNS)

He added he struggled to speak to psychiatrists and had never spoken to anyone about his childhood before – including his wife.

But he told the jury he had had suicidal thoughts since he was 12 after being a victim of domestic violence at home.

He added: “I never spoke to anyone because I thought it was a sign of weakness. I’ve always tried to be tough and didn’t want to look weak in front of my dad or anyone.

“I never understood it any other way.”






Stabbed couple Jennifer and Stephen Chapple

After following in his big brother’s footsteps and enlisting in the army in 2006, he said he was “trained to kill” but never actually took a life.

The court heard he had returned early from his tour of Afghanistan to face a court-martial over a previous drunken assault during an arctic training session in Norway. This denied him the opportunity to “decompress” after a six-month tour, the court was told.

While in Afghanistan, he said, his duties included staffing positions at the camp and running shifts at the hospital that dealt “in a bad way” with victims with missing limbs.

He also looked at terrorist detainees and said he saw friends injured or dead.

The decompression of Cyprus would normally involve soldiers getting drunk and deserting themselves and “letting their emotions run free if need be” before returning to Britain, the court heard.

He then spent 21 days in a correctional facility after decompression and never returned to Afghanistan, the court heard.

Returning to the UK, he was later involved in a serious accident while driving his lorry when an elderly woman fell asleep at the wheel and hit her head on him.

He told the jury he “passed out” when the ambulance arrived and was still suffering from flashbacks from the crash.

He said he fought and drank heavily after leaving the army. He argued with his wife and occasionally accepted to hit her.

He said they initially “got on quite well” with his neighbors and “borrowed things.”

But things turned sour in May 2021 as parking problems “came to a head,” the court heard.

He added, “It wasn’t just her (Jennifer Chapple’s) car, there were others interfering with my getting in and out.”

Reeves said he reduced the size of their yard and increased the parking bay, which “solved” the problem.

He described Jennifer’s argument as “more about my wife,” but said when he confronted her ten days before the murder, “he wanted to upset her — like she upset Kayley.”

He said his emotions ran high during that confrontation as it was Memorial Day, which he has always struggled with.

Describing his state of mind on the day of the stabbing, he added, “I was thinking of killing myself or just packing up my things and leaving.”

The process goes on.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ex-commando-triggered-garden-security-27223110 Ex-squad 'triggered' by security light in garden before stabbing neighbors

Fry Electronics Team

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