Man,34, charged with murders of couple killed in their home as children slept upstairs

A 34-year-old man is set to appear in court in connection with the murders of Jennifer and Stephen Chapple

A 34-year-old man has been charged with the murders of a couple who were stabbed to death at their home as their children slept upstairs.

Collin Reeves, of Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren, will appear at Taunton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday in connection with the deaths of Jennifer, 33, and 36-year-old Stephen Chapple.

The husband and wife were killed at their home in Dragon Rise, Norton Fitzwarren, at around 9.45pm on Sunday.

Neighbours and friends have paid tribute to the couple saying they “will be missed dearly” with floral tributes already starting to gather at the scene in the village of Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton, Somerset.

Police say ‘thoughts remain’ with couple’s family

Avon and Somerset Police said post-mortem examinations found both Ms Chapple, 33, and her 36-year-old husband died from multiple stab wounds.

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

“We’ve been keeping them fully updated on the progress of our investigation and they’re aware of this latest development.

“It is undoubtedly an extremely difficult time for them and I’d ask their privacy is respected as they continue to come to terms with what has happened.”

A second man, aged 67, was also arrested for murder but has now been released under investigation.

Forensics officer at Dragon Rise.Forensics officer at Dragon Rise.
Forensics officer at Dragon Rise.

‘Genuinely lovely people’ who will be ‘dearly missed’

Friends, family and people from the community have been dropping off flowers in tribute to the parents, who have been described as being “genuinely lovely people” .

One unnamed resident who lived nearby to the couple, and whose children went to the same school and Jenny and Steven’s, said: “Jennifer was always very chatty and she loved dogs - she’d run up to every dog she saw.

“Steve was also a lovely man - he seemed to be very devoted to his children.”

Another nearby resident called Barbara, aged 40, said: “I wasn’t close to the family but whenever I saw Jennifer she was ever so friendly and was always smiling.

“She was always really happy and would stop for a laugh and a joke.

“Her hair was always bright - just like her personality.

“They will both be dearly missed.”

She was a lovely kind-hearted lady’

Colleagues of Jennifer have also paid tribute to a ‘well-loved and respected’ colleague.

She worked at the Otter garden centre at Pen Elm, near Taunton, and manager of the centre Rob Brooks paid tribute to the popular member of the team.

He said: “It’s still raw at the moment for all the staff,” he said.

“As a centre, our hearts go out to those children that are left behind.

“She (Jennifer) was a well-loved and respected member of the team.

“She was a lovely, kind-hearted lady and a devoted mother.

Stephen worked in IT and lived with his wife in the property at the new-build estate in the sleepy village.

Among the notes left in tribute at the scene was one that read: “Jennifer you lit up the street with your smile.

“You and Steve have been such wonderful friends since you arrived in our lives. Such a kind and welcoming couple.

‘You have left a void that will be felt across all those who knew you. Words cannot express how much we’ll miss you both.”

Police have cordoned off the scene at Dragon Rise.Police have cordoned off the scene at Dragon Rise.
Police have cordoned off the scene at Dragon Rise.

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