British Army told to stop giving out ceremonial daggers after murder

The British Army has been told to stop giving out ceremonial daggers after one was used in a double murder instigated over a parking row. Ex-soldier Collin Reeves, 35, murdered Jennifer and Stephen Chapple in Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset on November 21, 2021, with a ceremonial dagger he had in his home. Now, a top coroner has urged Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to stop giving retiring troops weapons following the tragic incident.

Samantha Marsh wrote to Ben Wallace and the Ministry of Defence in a bid to stop incidents such as this from occurring again.

She wrote: “The dagger was not a blunt replica, it was a fully functional weapon capable of causing significant harm, injury and sadly in the Chapples’ case, death.

“Please reconsider the appropriateness of providing anyone leaving the British Army, regardless of rank or status, with what is (to all intents and purposes) a deadly weapon.

“Such presentation/gifting has essentially put a deadly weapon in the community (where I understand it sadly remains, having never been recovered as it was removed from the scene prior to police attendance) and I am not persuaded that this is appropriate.”

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Collin Reeves stabbed Mrs Chapple, 33, and Mr Chapple, 36, six times each in their home while their children slept upstairs.

The ex-soldier was handed a life sentence, with a minimum term of 38 years, last June.

Jailing him at Bristol Crown Court, Mr Justice Garnham said the killings had “torn the heart out of two perfectly normal, decent families”.

The Judge said: “You left (Mr and Mrs Chapple) on the floor bleeding to death, and all of the time their two children were asleep upstairs.

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“Your murderous behaviour left them orphans.

“They were put to bed that night by their parents and they would never see them again. The harm you did those two innocent children is incalculable.”

The former Royal Engineer admitted to the manslaughter and was convicted after a jury took five hours to deliberate.

Reeves used a ceremonial dagger, given to him when he left the Army, to kill the couple.

He claimed he had little memory of the incident, and did not remember taking the dagger out of a picture frame in his home, where it was usually displayed.

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