Father in double murder case misses funerals

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The Independent Online

The man who flew from his home in America to his native Britain two days before his wife and baby were found murdered has failed to attend their funerals.

Neil Entwistle, 27, who is not suspected of shooting dead his wife Rachel, 27, and daughter, Lillian, aged nine months, is thought to be staying at his parents' home in Nottinghamshire.

The computer engineer has been questioned by police from the United States in London and is described by the US authorities as a "person of interest".

He failed to turn up at his wife and daughter's funerals at St Peter's Church in Plymouth, Massachusetts, yesterday, angering the dead woman's family and friends. The mother and child were found shot dead at their home in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, 11 days ago.

The reason for Mr Entwistle's reluctance to return to the United States is not known, although there has been speculation that he and his wife had been threatened because of their internet business. Reports have linked them to a "get-rich-quick" scheme which promised subscribers at least £3,000 a month for selling adult sex sites. The business had led to a string of complaints from customers, leading to the possibility that someone with a grudge had targeted them. Mrs Entwistle had been reportedly sent threatening e-mails accusing her of being a "thieving liar".

Mr Entwistle flew to London on 20 January, 48 hours before the bodies were discovered. The family had lived at the address for only 10 days.

Police have stressed that he is not a suspect in the double murder and is being treated as a witness; no extradition proceedings have been opened in relation to him. As he is being treated as a witness, and is a British citizen on British soil, the US officers are powerless to interview him formally unless he agrees.

There were no signs of forced entry at the Entwistles' rented house in Massachusetts, where the bodies were found fully clothed under a pile of blankets in one of the five bedrooms. Last Friday, Mr Entwistle voluntarily attended the American embassy in London where he was questioned by US detectives. American police had previously spoken to him on the phone following the discovery of the bodies on 22 January.

A spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney's office in Massachusetts said that, if Mr Entwistle were returning to the US, it would not be in the custody of American investigators.

The district attorney, Martha Coakley, who has described Mr Entwistle as a "person of interest", said "consistent progress" was being made in the case.

Priscilla Matterazzo, Mrs Entwistle's mother, has refused to speak publicly. But, over the weekend, she posted death notices for her daughter and granddaughter in the Quincy Patriot Ledger, a south Boston newspaper. The notice for Lillian did not mention that Mr Entwistle was her father, describing her as the "beloved daughter of the late Rachel Entwistle, cherished granddaughter of Priscilla and Joseph Matterazzo". Rachel Entwistle's death notice also omitted any mention of her husband, despite listing other family members in England as survivors.

The couple had met through a rowing club when Mr Entwistle was studying at the University of York. They married in 2003 and moved to the US shortly after their daughter was born.

Mrs Entwistle had been a teacher at St Augustine's Catholic High School in Redditch, Worcestershire, between 2002 and 2005. Her husband was said to have been looking for a job in the US.