A man serving a life sentence in America for killing his wife and baby daughter has today launched an appeal against his conviction.
Neil Entwistle, from Worksop in Nottinghamshire, was jailed in June 2008 for shooting dead his wife Rachel and their nine month old daughter Lillian at their home at Hopkinton in Massachusetts in January 2006.
The day after the killing Entwistle fled the US. He later told police he’d left because he wanted to be consoled by his parents back in the UK. During a subsequent interview with police he claimed he had found his wife and baby daughter dead in the bed after returning home from running errands.
Today Entwistle’s lawyer Stephen Paul Maidman went to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to argue for a new trial. Mr Maidman claims evidence taken from the couple’s rented home was seized illegally because police did not have the right to search the home without a warrant.
He went on to say that officers had ‘no objective knowledge of an emergency inside the house’ and that by entering the defendant’s house, police violated federal and state constitutions. Maidman added the judge should have suppressed this evidence during Entwistle’s trial.
Mr Maidman also argued that Diane Kottmyer - the judge presiding over Entwistle’s trial - didn’t question potential jurors thoroughly enough as to whether they were biased against him following intense local and international media coverage of the killings.
Prosecutors responded by saying police were justified in entering the property because they were responding to concerns about the family’s well-being which had been raised by friends and family.
They also said Entwistle had become despondent after falling into serious debt, and complaining about his sex life with his wife. Entwistle met Rachel at York University. The pair later moved to Droitwich in Worcestershire where he worked in IT and she worked as a teacher in Redditch.
Entwistle is currently serving life without the possibility of parole. Following the guilty verdict Judge Kottmyer also imposed a 10-year probation sentence for two firearms offences, and ordered Entwistle should not profit from his crimes by writing a book.
A decision on whether his appeal has been successful could take several weeks.
The full report by Phil Brewster: