POLICE have confirmed that two children, aged five and six, were found asleep upstairs in the house where their parents were killed in Norton Fitzwarren near Taunton on Sunday evening.
The update was given this afternoon by senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Neil Meade. He said the children are now being looked after by other family members.
While formal identification has not yet taken place, the victims are believed to be 36-year-old Stephen Chapple and 33-year-old Jennifer Chapple.
A post mortem examination has confirmed Jennifer died from multiple stabs wounds while the post mortem examination to determine Stephen’s cause of death is currently still ongoing. Reports say he was head of IT at West Somerset Community College.
Suspicion of murder
Two men, aged 34 and 67, were arrested on suspicion of murder on Sunday, although the 67-year-old man has been released under investigation to allow further enquiries to take place. Meanwhile magistrates today granted an extension to the custody time limit in relation to the 34-year-old man.
A neighbour, who did not wanted to be named, said: “They were attacked inside the house I have been told. It’s just so shocking something like that can happen here.”
Several tents have been erected outside the properties involved as scenes of crime officers carry on their work.
Residents claimed there were numerous emergency response vehicles and a helicopter at the scene of Sunday night’s horror.
The village resident, who did not want to be named, said: “We heard some screaming and then within a short space of time there were loads of police and ambulance people here.
“This is normally a fairly quiet little road. But the police have said they had been in contact with those involved before, so there must have been a big problem in the background.”
Det Insp Meade said: “What happened to Stephen and Jennifer is utterly heartbreaking 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.”
If anyone has information that would help our investigation, they are asked to phone 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5221274497.