Couple killed at their Somerset home named by police as murder probe continues

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports on the deaths which have left residents of the village of Norton Fitzwarren shaken

A couple who died in an incident which has since sparked a double murder investigation have been named by police.

Stephen Chapple, 36, and Jennifer Chapple, 33, were found with fatal injuries at their home in Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren, on Sunday 21 November.

They both died at the scene.

Stephen and Jennifer Chapple's two children - aged five and six - were found asleep in the house where their parents were found. Credit: Facebook/Linkedin

Two children - aged five and six - were found asleep in the upstairs of the house and are now being looked after by family.

A post mortem examination has confirmed Jennifer died from multiple stabs wounds. The post mortem examination to determine Stephen’s cause of death is ongoing.

Avon and Somerset Police have launched a murder investigation and forensic inquiries continue at the scene.

Two men - aged 34 and 67 - have been arrested.

Magistrates have granted an extension to the custody time limit in relation to a 34-year-old man while the 67-year-old man has been released under investigation to allow further enquiries to take place.

Neighbours and friends have paid tribute to the "kind and welcoming" couple who have been described as wonderful parents.

Gregg Mockridge, headteacher at West Somerset College where Mr Chapple worked, described him as a "brilliant teacher".

'A brilliant teacher who cared deeply about the students'

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.”

One woman who lived on the estate told ITV News they "did everything they could to make sure the children had the best they could".

"They always provided for them," she added.

Investigations continue at the scene

Residents have said the new-build estate is a quiet neighbourhood, although there have been disagreements in the past about parking.

Police say they will voluntarily refer themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct in connection with the incident due to prior police contact with those involved.

Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Neil 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.” 

He added: “This is a tragic incident which has shocked the community and neighbourhood officers are patrolling the area to provide reassurance. Should anyone have any concerns about what happened I’d encourage them to talk to them.” 

  • Anyone with information which could help the police's investigation is asked to phone 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5221274497.