The wife of a former soldier who killed his neighbors with a ceremonial dagger after a bitter dispute over parking has claimed he suffered mental health problems after returning from fighting in Afghanistan.
Collin Reeves’ wife, Kayley Reeves, said he told her his head “was not in the right place” and that he was having a particularly hard time on the day of the killings because it was shortly after Remembrance Sunday, a time of the year that “triggered” him.
Kayley Reeves said: “He was a royal engineer in the military – a driver with the army. He was in Afghan in 2008-09, but he never talks about it. He bottles it up, but he was more excited when he came back. Just a different Collin than when he went there.
“When he was stressed, he got excited. He had difficulty sleeping, lost interest in all hobbies, stopped seeing friends and family. ”
A jury at the Bristol Crown Court has heard that Reeves stabbed his neighbors Jennifer and Stephen Chapple, 33 and 36, in their home in Somerset village of Norton Fitzwarren while their children were sleeping upstairs.
The attack came after months of arguing over parking and moments after Kayley Reeves had asked her husband for a divorce and told him, “There are only so many years I can handle your shit.”
Reeves, 35, has pleaded guilty to the murder of Chapples, but denies murder because of lesser 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 had not been together. “He asked me about my day, but I just ignored him and asked him to walk away.”
Kayley Reeves thought her husband was walking outside after a cigarette, but she heard screams. She went downstairs and saw that his “command dagger,” which was presented to him when he left the Army in 2017, was missing in its frame.
He returned and told her to call the police. “He looked white, not like my Collin. He had blood on his hands. He just said he loves me.”
She added: “It was all such a blur. The police took forever to come. They just took Collin away.” A few weeks before, they had a “heart to heart” and he said his head “was not in the right place”. She added: “He asked if he was not here, I would feel better.”
In footage played in court, Reeves could be heard shouting, “Die, you fuckers, die,” as he carried out what was described as a “brutal and wild” attack.
When he was remanded in custody at the police station, he gave his serial number from his military service. He said he was confused and did not understand why he was there. The custody sergeant explained that he had been arrested on suspicion of murder, to which Reeves replied that he “just did [his] job “and that” it was an operation “.
The trial continues.