Neil Entwistle - For sale: the story of my wife's murder

A British computer worker who concealed massive debts and a fascination with casual sex behind a facade of domestic harmony murdered his American wife and their baby daughter before fleeing to the UK with the apparent intent of selling his story "to the highest bidder", a US court heard yesterday.

Neil Entwistle, 29, is claimed by prosecutors to have trawled websites for information about escort services and "adult friends", as well as instructions on how to kill with a knife shortly before he shot dead his 27-year-old wife, Rachel, and their nine-month-old child, Lillian Rose, at their rented home in New England on 20 January 2006.

The double murder took place just as it seemed the Entwistles, who met while studying at York University, were looking forward to a bright future after the birth of their daughter.

Ten days before the killings the family had moved into their leased detached house in the quiet suburb of Hopkinton, near Boston in Massachusetts. The large weather-boarded property was close to the home of Rachel's parents.

The jury at the Middlesex County Superior Court in Woburn, Massachusetts, heard allegations yesterday that Mr Entwistle led an increasingly desperate double life as he struggled to find work in the United States and his attempts to set up internet-based business ventures foundered, while also pursuing attempts to seek what he called "a bit more fun in the bedroom" with women he met online.

Michael Fabbri, the assistant district attorney leading the prosecution, said that within hours of the killings, Mr Entwistle drove his BMW to Boston airport and bought a one-way ticket to London before travelling to his parents' home in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

When he was arrested on 9 February at Royal Oak Tube station in London he was carrying a notebook in which he had written how much he loved his wife and daughter. On the other side of the same piece of paper, the former IT worker had described "how he wants to sell his story to the highest bidder", Mr Fabbri said.

The prosecutor added that in the month before the murders, Mr Entwistle visited the Adult Friend Finder website "a number of times and began exchanging emails with females and discussing the possibility of setting up discreet relationships". At the time of his arrest he was also carrying a newspaper page containing a list of escort agencies and telephone numbers.

Mr Entwistle denies two charges of murder. He was also charged with possessing a firearm without a licence and possessing a firearm without a federal ID card.

His parents, Yvonne and Cliff, who were in court for the opening statements along with the family of Mrs Entwistle, have said they believe their son is "100 per cent innocent". Massachusetts does not have the death penalty and if found guilty the Briton faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

The trial has already provoked controversy in America after his lawyers claimed that apparent prejudice among potential jurors showed he could not obtain a fair trial. The murder of his wife and daughter, who were shot in the head and stomach respectively, as well as his subsequent disappearance to the UK, generated widespread publicity in the US media about Mr Entwistle's lifestyle.

During the process to select a 12-strong jury from a panel of 189 people, one potential juror said: "I think he's guilty and I'm unlikely to change my opinion." Another woman told the court she had heard other jurors say: "Fry him, send him away." An attempt by his defence lawyers this week to have the case dismissed or moved to a different location was dismissed by the trial judge, Diane Kottmeyer, who said the selected jury had demonstrated its impartiality.

Mr Fabbri said that outwardly the Entwistles, who were both adept at using computers, had seemed "nothing but loving and stable". But he said there was "another side" to Mr Entwistle, who feared his debts and active pursuit of an adulterous relationship would be discovered by his wife.

This ruthlessness was allegedly demonstrated by his response when he claimed to have returned from a two-hour shopping trip to a branch of the stationery chain Staples to find Rachel and Lillian Rose curled up together in the main bedroom, already dead from their wounds.

In a police interview, Mr Entwistle said: "I didn't even call 911 or call for help. It was obvious what had happened. I could see the hole in Lilly. After I came and found them in the bed I covered them up. It was like I was closing them off. My first thought was to go downstairs and get a knife from the kitchen to hurt myself, but I knew that would hurt so then I decided to get in my car and leave the Hopkinton home."

The court heard that DNA evidence would be presented linking Mr Entwistle to the grip of the handgun used for the murders, as well as an ammunition container. The weapon was a .22 revolver belonging to Mr Entwistle's father-in-law, Joseph Materazzo, which it is alleged the IT worker took on the day of the killing by using a spare set of keys to enter his in-laws' house.

Lawyers for Mr Entwistle said his actions after the killings were consistent with those of a grief-stricken husband and father and that evidence would be brought to show his innocence. Elliot Weinstein, for the defence, said: "Everything he said and everything he did thereafter he did because he loved them, he did because he loved them both."

The trial continues.

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 special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system