The wife of a former soldier who killed his next door neighbors with a ceremonial dagger following a bitter argument over parking has claimed he suffered from mental health issues after returning from fighting in Afghanistan.
Collin Reeves’ wife, Kayley Reeves, said he told her his head was “in the wrong place” and that he was particularly struggling on the day of the murders as it was shortly after the Sunday of the Souvenir, a time of year that had “triggered” him. .
Kayley Reeves said: ‘He was a royal engineer in the army – an army driver. He was in Afghanistan in 2008-09 but he never talks about it. He bottles it but he was more agitated when he came back. Just a different Collin than he went there.
“When he was stressed, he became restless. He had trouble sleeping, lost interest in all his hobbies, stopped seeing friends and family.
A Bristol Crown Court jury heard Reeves stabbed neighbors Jennifer and Stephen Chapple, 33 and 36, at their home in the village of Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset, while their children slept upstairs .
The attack came after months of wrangling over parking and moments after Kayley Reeves asked her husband for a trial separation, telling him: ‘It’s only been so many years since I can take your crap.”
Reeves, 35, pleaded guilty to the Chapples’ manslaughter but denies murder on the grounds of attenuated responsibility.
In a videotaped police interview given in the days after the murder, Kayley Reeves described how her husband put their daughters to bed on the evening of November 21 last year and then entered their bedroom.
She said they didn’t get along. “He was asking me about my day but I ignored him and told him to leave.”
Kayley Reeves thought her husband was going out for a cigarette but she heard screaming. She came downstairs and found that her “commando dagger”, presented to her when she left the army in 2017, was missing from its frame.
He came back and told her she had to call the police. “He looked white, not like my Collin. He had blood on his hands. He just said he loved me.
She added, “Everything was so blurry. The police took years to come. They just took Collin. A few weeks prior, they had a “heart to heart” and he said his head was “in the wrong place”. She added: “He asked if he wasn’t there, would I be better off.”
In footage released in court, Reeves could be heard shouting, “Die, assholes, die” as he carried out what was described as a “brutal and savage” attack.
When he was taken into custody at the police station, he gave his military service serial number. He said he was confused and didn’t understand why he was there. The guard sergeant explained that he was arrested on suspicion of murder, to which Reeves replied that he was “just doing [his] work” and that “it was an operation”.
The trial continues.