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Page last updated at 19:11 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:11 UK

Dark life of double murder Briton

Neil Entwistle
Neil Entwistle searched the internet for websites on how to kill people

Briton Neil Entwistle came across as a devoted husband and father. But at the trial where he was convicted of the double murder of his wife and baby daughter, a very different picture emerged.

Neil Entwistle's family life in the US appeared to be the model of middle-class respectability.

The university-educated IT worker had an attractive American wife, Rachel, and a beautiful baby, nine-month-old Lillian Rose.

One witness at his murder trial, a friend from college days, described Entwistle's relationship with his wife as "like 2.4 children - very much housed up with children, looking towards the future".

They seemed the perfect couple with a five-bedroom colonial-style house in a leafy suburb of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and driving a BMW X3 car.

But it was at their home that Entwistle used a .22 calibre Colt revolver to murder Rachel, 27, and their baby on 20 January 2006.

'Devoted husband'

It was a case which gripped a nation, brought public outcry, and left small-town America reeling.

Father William MacKenzie knew Rachel well and had been her family's priest for 30 years.

He first met Entwistle at Lillian Rose's baptism - just a few weeks before he buried her and her mother.

"To me he seemed a devoted husband and father. He seemed very fond of his daughter," he said.

"He was reluctant to let anybody else hold her because she was daddy's little girl. I said to myself, we had a family that was obviously going to grow together very close."

Huge debts

Rachel's mother and step-father trusted Rachel's judgement and were happy with her choice of husband.

What they did not know was that Entwistle was in debt by tens of thousands of dollars and had no job lined up after moving to the States.

Entwistle's business ventures involved get-rich-quick internet scams, pornographic websites, and an online software company.

Despite the debts, Entwistle aspired to live in an expensive neighbourhood.

The hardest thing he'll ever have is to forgive himself
Father William MacKenzie
Rachel Entwistle's family priest

Hopkinton is an affluent town of 14,000 inhabitants where the average household income is more than double the national figure.

The local police chief has had to investigate only one other murder in 28 years.

So when Entwistle killed his wife and baby daughter within days of them moving to the town it was big news.

Robert Falcione, editor of the online newspaper Hopkinton News, said the town felt "cheated" for two reasons.

"We didn't get to know them, number one. They looked like the all-American family. Number two, it cast a terrible pall upon this community," he said.

Left America

Entwistle told investigators he discovered his wife and daughter dead after returning home from an errand.

He did not call the emergency services but instead got a knife to kill himself although could not go through with it, he said.

After leaving the house Entwistle drove to Boston's international airport where he left the family car.

He bought a one-way ticket to London and flew out without any luggage.

Entwistle told investigators he went straight to his parents' house in Worksop.

In fact, he rented a car and drove 800 miles around England before ending up in Nottinghamshire.

From Worksop he wrote a letter handing over all burial arrangements to his in-laws, never attending his wife and daughter's funeral.

Internet searches

As his trial unfolded at Middlesex County Superior Court in Woburn, Massachusetts, a very different version of Entwistle's happy home life was revealed.

It emerged that he had lied to his friends about having a 100% mortgage on the house and buying the BMW - both were rented.

Rachel and Lillian Rose Entwistle
Rachel and Lillian Rose Entwistle were shot with a .22 calibre Colt revolver

The court heard that, in the days leading up to the murders, Entwistle had trawled the internet looking at dating and escort sites.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Fabbri said that between late December 2005 and mid-January 2006, Entwistle had visited an adult dating website and exchanged e-mails with women, discussing "discreet relationships".

Searches were also made on the internet on bankruptcy, killing and suicide. One, four days before the murders, was for information on "how to kill with a knife".

'Pulled trigger'

Elliot Weinstein, defending Entwistle in court, said Mrs Entwistle had shot Lillian Rose before turning the gun on herself.

The jury heard Entwistle's DNA was found on the grip of the revolver, on an ammunition container and on a gun lock.

Mrs Entwistle's DNA was present both in and on the muzzle - but not on the grip.

Mr Fabbri - who brandished the murder weapon while making his closing statement - said the defence had raised "red herrings".

"There is one person responsible for these murders and that person is sitting right over there [pointing to Entwistle]. He's the one who pulled that trigger twice," he said.

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

As Entwistle faces his time behind bars, Father MacKenzie reflected: "He could take my forgiveness, he could take forgiveness even from Rachel's family, but the hardest thing he'll ever have is to forgive himself."


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