Family's heartbreak as 'beautiful' Somerset couple murdered by neighbour after parking row

The family of Jennifer and Stephen Chapple say they will now focus on the couple's "beautiful boys"

The family of two parents who were murdered by their neighbour say they will now focus on their "beautiful boys" after their killer was convicted.

On the evening of November 21 last year, Collin Reeves climbed over his garden fence and into Jennifer and Stephen Chapple's garden.

Once inside the property, he stabbed the young married couple six times each using a ceremonial dagger he was given when he left the army.

The 35-year-old then returned to his house next door, where he called 999 and told the operator "I've stabbed them".

When police officers arrived at the house in Somerset, they found the couple's children still sleeping upstairs.

Reeves, who was a former Royal Engineer and an Afghanistan veteran, had been involved in a long-running dispute with the couple over parking on the new-build housing development in Norton Fitzwarren.

He admitted killing the couple but denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

But following a trial at Bristol Crown Court, a jury has today (17 June) convicted the 35-year-old of murdering Mr and Mrs Chapple at their home in Dragon Rise.

In a statement read outside of court, the couple's family say they will now focus on the couple's "beautiful boys", who were four and six at the time of the murders.

They said: “No verdict will bring back our beautiful Jennifer and Stephen. If anything, these past 10 days have prolonged us finding out how Jennifer and Stephen spent their final moments.

“The support of our friends and family has been what has got us through the past seven months. The support we have received from Jennifer and Stephen’s friends shows how loved they both were.

“We now ask that we are left to process this in our own way, to be able to grieve properly and move forward as best we can.

“We will now focus on Jennifer and Stephen’s beautiful boys helping them to live the life that Jennifer and Stephen would have wished for them.”

Detective Inspector Neil Meade, from Avon and Somerset Police's major crime investigation team, said: “There are simply no words to fully describe the horrors Collin Reeves committed.

“My heart and all those at Avon and Somerset Police goes out to Jennifer and Stephen’s families and in particular, their two boys.

Collin Reeves murdered his neighbours with a ceremonial dagger he was given when he left the army Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

“For reasons only Reeves knows, he robbed them of their parents, destroying the lives they knew in a matter of minutes. His actions are beyond comprehension.”

He told ITV News: "The only saving grace for me really is that they didn't witness anything of what happened downstairs.

"They also didn't witness any of the aftermath because of the rapid actions of the officers that attended on the evening."