Briton sought over murder of wife and daughter

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The Independent US

A Briton being sought by US detectives after his American wife and daughter were found shot dead has spoken to police from outside the country, officials said today.

The Middlesex District Attorney's office said Neil Entwistle, 27, had been contacted, but it would not reveal where he was.

His wife Rachel and their nine-month-old baby daughter Lillian were found murdered in bed at their home in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, on Sunday night.

Autopsies showed that Mrs Entwistle, 27, died from being shot in the head while Lillian died from a bullet to the body.

They were reportedly discovered lying side by side with "little to no blood" on the bed and no obvious signs of foul play - leading officers to think initially that they might have died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The bullet wounds were not discovered until later.

Friends and family had apparently turned up for a dinner party the couple were due to host on Saturday night but found the rented house dark with no one appearing to be at home.

On Sunday they called the police and officers made the grim find.

The Foreign Office confirmed it was aware of Mr Entwistle's disappearance from the small east coast town was in contact with US authorities over the case, but a spokeswoman said she had no details of his whereabouts.

The DA's statement said he was considered a "person of interest" in the investigation, adding that they did not believe the shootings to be random.

The Enwistles, who met through a rowing club while Mr Entwistle studied electronic engineering with business management at the University of York, had set up a website detailing their love affair which shows recent pictures of them and Lillian and a message signed from "the happy family".

Mr Entwistle, who went to Valley Comprehensive School in Worksop, also wrote about his forthcoming wedding to Rachel on the Friends Reunited website.

He said: "Getting married to the most amazing woman in the world this summer: Rachel."

Speaking about his work, Mr Entwistle said: "Making bombs and other stuff for a living - would tell you more but I'd have to kill you."

The message on the couple's website from before Christmas reads: "Dearest family and friends.

"Welcome. We hope you are enjoying our photos of Lillian. We aim to change the photos at least once a month, so do check often.

"The three of us are doing well and are looking forward to the coming holiday season. The baptism was wonderful and Lilly looked perfect. She even managed to recite the Lord's Prayer with us.

"Lillian is now crawling with confidence. She's enjoying three meals a day of her Mummy's home-cooked food and is already eating a variety of finger foods.

"Enjoy the newest photos from Lillian's baptism and the build up to Christmas. Be in touch....we love hearing from you! Love, the happy family."

The DA's office said police responded to a call to attend the family home on Sunday at about 6.30pm local time.

A BMW belonging Mr Entwistle has been recovered by detectives.

The statement said: "Police have been in contact with Mr Entwistle, who is out of the country. No further information as to his whereabouts is being released at this time.

"At this time, Mr Entwistle is still considered a person of interest in the investigation. At this time, authorities do not believe the shootings to be random. No arrests have been made at this time.

"While initially investigators only detected one gunshot wound to Rachel Entwistle's torso, autopsy revealed that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. The cause of Lillian's death was a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. "Both deaths were ruled homicides."

A message from "Mum and Dad Ent" on the couple's website was posted shortly after their wedding in Plymouth, Manomet, Massachusetts, in 2003.

It reads: "Hello darlings, the wedding was elegant. Neil you were the perfect gentleman. Rachel you were stunning. We are very proud of you both. We love you from mum and dad. xxx."

The couple also held a reception for their British friends and family in the UK in November 2003.

Other photos show the couple holding their daughter proudly and pictures from their honeymoon.

The website is currently being flooded with messages of sympathy, some from pupils who were taught media studies by Mrs Entwistle in England.

The Boston Herald newspaper reported that the alarm had been raised after the aborted dinner party.

It quoted District Attorney Martha Coakley saying there was no obvious clue that a murder had been committed when the bodies were found.

"They were in the bedding, almost not visible. There were no obvious signs of foul play. The officers thought it might be a medical, they didn't know if it was carbon monoxide."

She said there was "little to no blood" found on the bed and the bullet wounds were not discovered until later.

In a press conference last night, lawyer Ms Coakley said she was not labelling Mr Entwistle a suspect at the current time and that there were other people police wanted to speak to.

"He had contacted police at one stage and we have been in touch with him since," she adding that Mr Entwistle had been out of town since at least Friday.

Mr Entwistle's parents, Cliff and Yvonne, were not available for comment at their semi-detached home in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, today.

The Entwistle family are respected in the Worksop area, where their two sons attended school, neighbours said. Cliff Entwistle, a coal miner, is also a Labour councillor for Bassetlaw District Council, representing Worksop East.

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