A former soldier who murdered his married neighbours in a row over parking has been sentenced to life in prison.
Afghanistan veteran Collin Reeves has been jailed at Bristol Crown Court for life with a minimum term of 38 years for the killings in Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset, last November.
Reeves, 35, stabbed Jennifer and Stephen Chapple with a ceremonial dagger he had from the Army while their children were asleep upstairs.
Climbing over a fence and entering the house via their back door, Reeves knifed Mr and Ms Chapplle multiple times to the chest and shoulder.
At the sentencing hearing, Jennifer’s mother Ann Clayton said that her daughter loved her children “with all her being”.
“There was nothing that she would not do for her children, now they will never know what it feels like to hug her, snuggle her, get bedtime kisses from her again,” Ms Clayton said.
She described Reeves’s actions as “depraved” and “evil”, saying Jennifer and her husband Stephen “had so much more to do in their lives”.
Stephen’s sister Marie Chapple described the double murder as “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through”.
“I’ve lost my best friend, the friend who always looked out for me, who wanted to make sure I was ok,” she said.
During his trial, the court heard how the killer had been in a long-running dispute with his neighbours over parking.
They previously had a good relationship but it deteriorated when Ms Chapple learned to drive and bought a second car.
Rows over parking spaces escalated to the point that both Reeves’s wife Kayley and Ms Chapple had told their friends they were anxious about bumping into each other on the school run.
Ten days before the killings, Reeves was caught on a door bell camera approaching Ms Chapple outside her house following an earlier exchange between her and Ms Reeves.
He accuses Ms Chapple of “f***ing gobbing off you cheeky little b****”.
The victim replies “she’s the one who started it, just f*** off”, to which he responds “what’s that you f****** c***, you fat b****, you f****** ... f****** c***”.
After the killings, Reeves was recorded in the background of the 999 call telling someone, believed to be his mother Lynn, “I couldn’t let her (or them) torment Kayley any more”.
The former soldier said he had little memory of the incident but recalled sitting on the stairs in tears after the conversation with his wife.
He claimed he did not remember taking his dagger out of the picture frame in which it was usually displayed.
Reeves himself called the police just a few minutes after the killings to confess what he had done.
However Reeves pleaded not guilty to murder at the trial at Bristol Crown Court, claiming he was not in his right mind at the time of the attack.
A jury found him guilty and senior crown prosecutor Joanna Clark said Reeves had “sought to avoid responsibility for murder by claiming his actions were the result of PTSD linked to his previous army service”.
Reacting to the guilty verdict, the family of Mr and Ms Chapple 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.
“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.”