Briton accused of killing family in US 'will not receive fair trial'

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The Independent US

Lawyers for a British man accused of murdering his wife and baby daughter have failed in their last-ditch attempt to get the case moved or dismissed, after insisting he could not get a fair trial.

Neil Entwistle, prosecutors claim, was a sex and violence-obsessed man who shot his young wife and nine-month old daughter in their home in a Boston suburb.

Next Monday sees jury selection begin for a trial which is widely expected to be one of the most lurid and disturbing the court in Woburn, Massachusetts, has ever witnessed and likely to attract fevered media attention.

Court papers filed by the district attorney's office this week painted a picture of a 29-year-old intent on trawling websites to fulfil his voracious sexual appetite, and who went on looking for sex after the killings. The papers claim that Mr Entwistle spent his time devising internet scams and setting up pornographic websites.

Judge Diane Kottmeyer refused Mr Entwistle's lawyers plea to dismiss the charges or to move the trial from the area of Massachusetts where the killings took place, because of intense media coverage.

The defence also wanted the judge to exclude evidence prosecutors gathered since the unemployed computer programmer was arrested in London in February 2006. The judge said she would rule later whether prosecutors could introduce evidence about Mr Entwistle's visits to website for escort services.

Prosecutors claim that Mr Entwistle, who had been struggling with mounting financial problems having been unable to find work in the United States, returned to the rented family home in the picturesque New England town on 20 January 2006 and shot his American wife Rachel, 27, and daughter Lillian Rose with his father-in-law's gun.

He killed his wife, they claim, fearful she would find out about his secret life of mounting debt, business scams and a fixation with internet escort agencies.

Within hours, he had bought a plane ticket and the following morning he headed home to Britain, back to his parents' home in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Mrs Entwistle was found two days later, curled up with her baby clutched to her chest. The little girl had been shot through the stomach and the mother in the head. Mr Entwistle was arrested on the London Underground less than three weeks later and extradited to the US.

The court papers claim that, upon his arrest, he was carrying a page torn from a newspaper with hundreds of advertisements for women "providing a variety of escort and sexual services" as well as handwritten notes indicating he was trying to get in touch with an ex-girlfriend and planned to sell his story to the highest bidder.

"Evidence that the defendant was actively seeking an adulterous sexual relationship ... tends to establish the defendant's apparent dissatisfaction with his sex life with his wife, and are therefore relevant to the jury's consideration of the defendant's motive to commit the crimes," prosecutors said in the latest court filing.

It is claimed he posted a graphic naked picture of himself on the internet shortly before the murders, explaining that he was looking for "a bit more fun in the bedroom", searched sites on ways to kill with a knife, and had lost several hundred dollars gambling.

The couple met nine years ago at the University of York, married in 2003 and moved to the US.

Yesterday, Mr Entwistle's lawyer Elliot Weinstein argued there was "nothing but a loving relationship between Neil and Rachel Entwistle."

Mr Entwistle, who denies the murders, claims he came home to find the gruesome scene and disappeared off to England, distraught and seeking solace from his parents.