Pictured: Husband and wife killed 'in row over parking' as two men are arrested

23 November 2021, 11:22 | Updated: 24 November 2021, 18:44

The husband and wife who were found dead in their home in Somerset
The husband and wife who were found dead in their home in Somerset. Picture: Social media

By Megan Hinton

Tributes have been paid to a husband and wife who were found dead in their home in Somerset, amid claims they were involved in a long-running dispute with neighbours over parking.

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IT teacher Stephen Chapple, 36 and 33-year-old garden centre worker Jenny Chapple were identified today as the victims killed at their home in the village of Norton Fitzwarren.

The couple were found with serious injuries at an address in Dragon Rise at around 9.45pm on Sunday. Their children, aged seven and four, were asleep upstairs at the property at the time, police said today.

Despite the efforts of emergency services, the couple were both pronounced dead at the scene.

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In a statement today police said Jenny died after being stabbed repeatedly and a post mortem examination to determine Stephen’s cause of death is ongoing.

Rob Brooks, manager of the Otter Garden Centre where Jenny worked, said: "She was a well loved member of staff and a very kind person.

"We all loved her and so did the customers. We are devastated. We will remember her as a beautiful, kind and dedicated mother and colleague.

"This has hit us all very hard."

Gregg Mockridge, Headteacher at West Somerset College 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.”

Jenny has been described as 'very kind' and 'loved'
Jenny has been described as 'very kind' and 'loved'. Picture: Facebook

Friends took to social media to say:"Make time for your friends. Make that visit to see family. You just never know what could happen tomorrow."

Another wrote: "Absolutely unbelievable. Cherish your friends and family you really don't know when it will be too late".

Neighbours have since claimed the couple had been involved in a long running dispute over parking.

A woman living nearby said: "We didn’t see much of [the suspect] really, but there had been rows in the past about parking."

Two men aged 34 and 67, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Avon and Somerset police said they had been given more time to question the 34-year-old man. The 67-year-old man has been released under investigation.

They are believed to be a neighbour who lived in the new build estate and his father.

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.”

Police confirmed two "distressed" young children, believed to be aged four and seven, were in the property at the time of the killings but they were unharmed.

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Detective Inspector Neil Meade, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: "The thoughts of everyone in the force this morning are with the families of the two people who sadly died last night.

"Two young children were inside the property at the time of the incident and while thankfully they weren’t hurt, they are understandably distressed at what has happened.

"They are being looked after and specially trained officers have been deployed to support the victim’s families in what is undoubtedly the most difficult of times."

Avon and Somerset Police said that due to "prior contact with those involved", it had referred itself voluntarily to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

He added: "We will carry out a full and thorough investigation and we will do all we can to achieve justice for the victim’s families.

"While this appears to be an isolated incident, there will be increased police activity in the area to provide the community with reassurance.

"Incidents like this are very rare but when they do happen, we know they cause significant concern so we’d urge anyone with worries or questions to speak to an officer or contact their local neighbourhood policing team."