Page last updated at 22:38 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 23:38 UK

US police 'failed to spot bodies'

Sgt Michael Sutton
It looked as if all the bedding, comforter, blankets, had just been piled up in the centre of the bed
Sergeant Michael Sutton

The US trial of a British man accused of killing his wife and daughter has heard that police initially failed to notice the bodies during a search.

Neil Entwistle, 29, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, denies murdering his wife, Rachel, 27, and nine-month-old daughter, Lillian, in January 2006.

The bed they were found in looked as if blankets "had just been piled up in the centre", Sergeant Michael Sutton said.

Sgt Sutton said he had taken "one step" into the bedroom in his first search.

He said he had seen the light on, but had not seen any people when he had looked into the master bedroom on the evening of 21 January 2006.

The bodies were found in the bed together when police conducted a second search of the house in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the following day.

'Messy' bed

Describing the scene that first confronted him, Sgt Sutton, said: "There was a large bed in the centre of the room.

"It was unmade. It looked as if all the bedding, comforter, blankets, had just been piled up in the centre of the bed."

Neil Entwistle, his wife Rachel and daughter Lillian Rose
The defence team says Mr Entwistle loved his wife and daughter

Mr Entwistle was arrested at Royal Oak Underground station in west London in February 2006 and taken back to the US. Prosecutors have told the jury he had a secret life - that he had been thousands of pounds in debt, had visited websites offering casual sex, and searched online for ways to kill people and take his own life.

The former IT worker faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted of the double murder.

Sgt Sutton told Middlesex County Superior Court in Woburn, Massachusetts, nothing else had been out of place but the bed had been "messy".

The bodies were discovered when he returned at 6pm the following evening and "immediately noticed an odour".

Sgt Sutton said when he returned to the bedroom, he noticed a woman's wrist watch lying on the floor, which he had not been able to see from his position in the doorway the previous evening.

He then lifted up the bottom corner of the duvet between six inches and a foot.

"I observed what appeared to be an adult foot," he said.

Moving to the top of the bed, Mr Sutton lifted the duvet again.

"I first observed a small baby's face. I was looking down at the top of the head, forehead, eyes, nose," he said.

The Entwistle house in Boston
Rachel Entwistle and her daughter were shot dead at their home in Boston

As he lifted the duvet further, he went on: "I looked to the right of the baby's face and saw a woman's face."

Under cross-examination by Elliott Weinstein, defending Entwistle, Mr Sutton agreed that he had "learned that things are not always as they first seem to be".

Mr Entwistle is accused of killing his wife and daughter just days after moving to the rented four-bedroom Colonial-style home in Hopkinton.

Mrs Entwistle's friend Joanna Gately and mother, Priscilla Matterazzo, contacted the police after becoming concerned about the couple's whereabouts.

The jury panel, consisting of eight men and eight women, was told the post-mortem examination found Mrs Entwistle had been shot in the forehead at close range.

It also revealed that the couple's baby daughter, Lillian, had been killed with a bullet that passed through her abdomen and lodged above her mother's left breast as she had cradled her.

The trial continues.

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