Entwistle agrees to US extradition but denies murder

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The Independent Online

A British man accused of shooting his American wife and baby daughter denied he was a murderer and told police he wanted to kill himself with a knife after he discovered their bodies, according to a police affidavit.

Neil Entwistle, 27, appeared yesterday before Bow Street magistrates' court in central London, where he agreed to be extradited to the US.

He made the statements to US police officers after he had returned to England.

Mr Entwistle told Massachusetts police he had found the bodies of his wife Rachel and his nine-month-old daughter Lillian after returning from an errand. He said he covered them with a blanket and then got a knife to kill himself but was unable to go through with his suicide plan.

He said he then drove to the home of his wife's parents to get a gun from his father in-law to kill himself. But when he could not get into the house he drove to Logan airport in Boston because "he wanted to go home to his parents".

Mr Entwistle, who was arrested in London on Thursday, is accused of shooting his wife in the head before turning the handgun on his daughter, and then fleeing the country.

In a surprise move, Mr Entwistle agreed to waive his right to extradition proceedings. The order to return to the US was signed by a Home Office minister.

The case has seen a number of twists and turns. After the discovery of the dead mother and baby at their rented home in Hopkinton, the American authorities said at first that Mr Entwistle was not a suspect, merely a "person of interest". But they now allege that, facing mounting debts and in a state of desperation, he killed his family and may have considered suicide before catching a flight to England and returning to his parents in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Mr Entwistle, who was remanded in custody, is likely to be sent back on a flight within the next week. Judith Seddon, Mr Entwistle's legal representative, said: "He believes he will receive a fair and proper hearing in the US on these very serious allegations."

When he made his first appearance at the Bow Street court on Thursday for the start of the process to extradite him, he had indicated he would not agree to extradition "at this stage".

Martha Coakley, the District Attorney for Middlesex County in Massachusetts, said prosecutors would ask for Mr Entwistle be held without bail pending trial, which was likely begin in nine to 12 months.

Earlier Ms Coakley said investigators believed Mr Entwistle committed the murders with a gun he had taken from his father-in-law's collection and later returned secretly. Forensic evidence linked it to both Mr Entwistle and his wife but she had never used it.

Ms Coakley told a press conference in the US that Mr Entwistle, who had "some debt obligations" in Britain, moved to America "intending to start businesses, which were not effective, on the internet and eBay ... and may have found himself in financial difficulties".

Detectives believe the mother and baby were murdered on the morning of Friday 20 January and that Mr Entwistle took a BA flight to London at 8.15am on the Saturday.

He had bought the ticket on the telephone at 5am using a credit card. The bodies were discovered by police on Sunday evening . Mr Entwistle was arrested at Royal Oak tube station on Thursday morning.