Defence claims Neil Entwistle's wife shot baby then herself

Double murder suspect Neil Entwistle's lawyer today claimed his American wife killed their baby daughter before committing suicide.

Elliot Weinstein said Entwistle returned home from a shopping trip to find the bodies of his 27-year-old wife Rachel and their nine-month-old baby Lillian Rose on the four-poster bed in their new home in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, on January 20, 2006.



Mr Weinstein said Entwistle saw his father-in-law's .22 calibre Colt revolver lying next to them on the bed, panicked and tried to cover up his wife's suicide in a bid to save her reputation.



"First Rachel put Lillian over where she thought her heart was and shot her," Mr Weinstein said.



"The bullet travelled through Lillian and into Rachel's left breast. We know the breast was the first wound because of the bruising."



Holding his hands together above his head, Mr Weinstein went on: "Then she pointed the gun towards her head, steadied it with both hands and fired. She struck herself in the forehead. Death was instantaneous."



The jury panel of eight men and eight women was told that a post-mortem examination found Mrs Entwistle was shot in the forehead at close range and Lillian was killed with a bullet which passed through her abdomen and lodged above her mother's left breast as she cradled her on the bed.



Everything that Neil did after finding Rachel and Lillian in the bedroom he did because he loved them," Mr Weinstein said.



He said things "aren't always what they first appear to be" and that investigators had "Neil did it" filters after noting his name as a suspect on their field work even before visiting the scene.



"The investigation filters, the 'Neil did it' filters, prevented a clear picture from emerging," he said.



Mr Weinstein claimed Entwistle saw the .22 calibre gun, which belonged to his father-in-law Joseph Matterazzo, on the pillow next to the bodies and acted to protect his wife's reputation.



"Neil's entire family, his entire reason for being in America, was gone. The unexpected, the unimaginable, had happened."



Mr Weinstein went on: "How could he permit the police to come knowing that Joe's revolver in the bed would let people know that Rachel did what Rachel did?



"He had to get the .22 back to (the Matterazzo's home at) Carver, and he couldn't call the police because he couldn't tell them what Rachel did."



Mr Weinstein said Entwistle was "distraught and devastated" and that his actions were those of a loving husband rather than those of someone who was thinking "rationally, clearly and concisely".



He told the jurors that the evidence "demands that you find Neil Entwistle not guilty".



The lawyer, who wears cowboy boots in court, also suggested that Mrs Entwistle's mental status may have been in question and accused the prosecution of failing to provide all the evidence.



"You have the right to expect more," he told the jury.



Entwistle had a secret life in which he trawled the internet for escorts and looked at websites about bankruptcy, killing and suicide before shooting dead his family, the court has heard.



But Mr Weinstein dismissed the evidence that Entwistle used the sex and swinger website Adult Friend Finder to hunt for other American women so he could have "more fun in bed" and that he used other sex-related sites, including HalfPriceEscorts.com.



He told the jury that times had changed from when Playboy magazine was only found in barbers' shops and added that millions of Americans now used sex websites every day.



He also dismissed Entwistle's financial problems as "a few debts from college".



But assistant district attorney Michael Fabbri urged the jurors to use their common sense and find Entwistle guilty of first degree murder.



"The idea of committing suicide by shooting through another person makes no common sense," he said.



Pointing to Entwistle, he went on: "There is one person responsible for these murders and that person is sitting right over there. He's the one who pulled that trigger twice.



"Neil Entwistle and no one else is responsible for these murders."



During his closing speech, in which he waved the gun around the courtroom, Mr Fabbri accused the defence team of highlighting "red herrings" and went on: "This was a homicide, not a suicide."



Holding the gun above his head with both hands, he added: "It could not have happened the way they said it happened."



He said a notebook, in which Entwistle wrote how much he loved his wife and daughter on one side, and then how he planned to sell his story to the highest bidder on the other, showed "the two sides of Neil Entwistle".



"I'm not just talking a simple statement," it read.



"I'm talking the full story as told to the police. There will be enough material to take a week."



Entwistle lied, searched the internet for "how to kill with a knife" and hunted for sexual partners as soon as his wife and daughter moved to the US in August 2005, Mr Fabbri said.



He added that Entwistle and his defence was "projecting his own status on to Rachel" with the suicide theory.



"He was the one who came here, did not have friends, did not have family, was trying to get a job but failing at that, was trying to start his businesses, but failing at that.



"He was failing to provide for his family. And whether that justifies homicide, I'm not going to stand here and say that makes any sense."



He added it was "unimaginable" that Entwistle did not call 911.



Entwistle denies two counts of first degree murder and faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of the double murder.



His defence team offered no witnesses in the trial at the Middlesex County Superior Court.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas