Family of murdered couple tell of ‘huge void’ in their lives

Friday 24th June 2022 4:00 pm
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Stephen and Jennifer Chapple
(Avon and Somerset Police )

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THE parents of murdered Minehead teacher Stephen Chapple and his wife Jennifer told this week of the deep pain and grief the families were suffering ‘now and forever’.

Their tearful reactions came after ex-soldier Collin Reeves was sentenced on Tuesday to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 38 years.

Jennifer’s mother Ann Clayton said the family’s grief was ‘insurmountable’ and their lives had been changed ‘in the most horrendous way imaginable’.

Mrs Clayton said: “For a mother to lose a child is something that causes a never-ending pain, knowing that there will forever be a darkness inside you, a light switched off in your soul that cannot be replaced.

“The thoughts that enter your head every day, dark, horrid thoughts, you do not want to imagine the fear that they felt, the suffering that they endured, what their final thoughts were.

“As a family we grieve for so much that we have lost, we have lost the ability to have a future, make memories, to laugh together. All conversations with everyone that we know are now tinged with sadness and grief, and this has a detrimental impact on your wellbeing.”

Mrs Clayton said her grandsons were now growing up without the ‘two most important people in their lives’ which created a ‘rage and an anger’ like a ‘fire in the stomach’.

Stephen’s father Robert Chapple said it was a struggle most days to accept the reality and it was hard to get on with everyday tasks.

Mr Chapple said: “Now, when we get together there is always a huge void in our lives. We do not feel we will ever come to terms with what has happened and the cruel way they were taken from us.”

Stephen’s sister Kaiya Chapple said it still sometimes felt ‘not real, as if I am living a story in a television show’.

She said: “There is a certain numbness to how I feel, I need to find things to distract me, whether it is work or immersing myself into something else.

“When I lie in bed, sleep does not come easily. I think of ways that this whole chaotic situation could have been avoided, as if I could turn back time and somehow warn them.”

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