Somerset couple stabbed to death while young children sleeping upstairs | criminality

A husband and wife were stabbed to death in their Somerset home while their children slept upstairs, police said.

Paramedics attempted to save Stephen Chapple, 36, a teacher, and Jennifer Chapple, 33, who worked in a cafe, but they died of their injuries at their home in the village of Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton.

When the police arrived, they found their children, aged five and six, still asleep. The officers took them away, not allowing them to see their parents’ bodies.

Neighbors said there had been disputes over parking on the street and that police had visited at least three times previously to speak to those involved.

Avon and Somerset Police referred to the watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct because of previous contacts.

Two men, aged 34 and 67, were arrested on suspicion of murder after the attack around 9.45 p.m. Sunday. On Tuesday, magistrates granted an extension of the period of custody for a 34-year-old man, while a 67-year-old man was released under investigation. Officers searched the bushes, gardens and drains around the house in Dragon Rise.

Tributes poured in for the couple. Rob Brooks, director of the Otter Garden Center in Taunton, where Jennifer Chapple worked, said: “Jenny joined us earlier this year and worked in our cafe. She was a respected member of the team and was greatly appreciated by all of her colleagues.

Gregg Mockridge, Principal of West Somerset College, where Stephen Chapple taught, said: “Steve was a fantastic colleague, a brilliant professor who cared deeply for the students in his charge. He has led innovations in the use of technology across the school, as well as in his own teaching. Steve will be sadly missed by all staff and students and our hearts and prayers are with his children and extended family at this time. “

A murder investigation is being conducted by the Major Crime Investigation Team. Police said the children were being looked after by family members.

An autopsy confirmed that Jennifer Chapple died from multiple stab wounds. Stephen Chapple’s autopsy continued on Tuesday, but a police source said he too was stabbed.

Principal Investigating Officer Detective Neil Meade said: “What happened to Stephen and Jennifer is quite heartbreaking and I can’t begin to imagine the impact their deaths will have on their two children. This is a tragic incident that has shocked the community, and neighborhood officers are patrolling the area to reassure. “

A neighbor, who asked to be named only as Melissa, said: “Everyone has a problem with parking here… it has caused a lot of anger.”

A resident who asked not to be named, whose children go to the same school as the couple, said: ‘Jennifer was always very chatty and she loved dogs – she ran to every dog ​​she saw. . Steve was also a lovely man. He seemed to be very devoted to his children.

Among the notes left at the scene was one that said, “Jennifer, you lit the street with your smile.” You and Steve have been such wonderful friends since you first came into our lives. Such a kind and welcoming couple.


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