DAY TWO - 'Neil is 100 per cent innocent' - Cliff Entwistle tells world's media

NEIL Entwistle's father Cliff stood on the steps of Middlesex County Court in Boston at the end of the second day of his son's trial to repeat what he told the Worksop Guardian over a year ago: "Our son Neil is 100 per cent innocent."

Standing with his wife Yvonne and their other son Russell, Mr Entwistle - a Bassetlaw district councillor - addressed a crowd of journalists who earlier in the day had pursued the family down the street demanding a comment.

His statement was short and to the point, and was almost word for word what he told the Worksop Guardian in February last year, the only previous occasion when the Entwistles have spoken out about their son's double murder charge.

"We know our son Neil is innocent, 100 per cent innocent," said Mr Entwistle, adding: "We will not be making any further statements until after the trial."

This was the first day the family arrived at court and son Neil, 29, welcomed their appearance in the public gallery with a broad smile, later winking to his father as the court adjourned for the mid-morning recess.

After two days the defence and prosecution in the case now have 24 qualified jurors, and tomorrow will begin searching for their final 12, with a further four alternates. Prosecution and defence will have the opportunity to veto some of the jurors and are allowed 16 challenges each.

Out of the potential jurors vetted by the court today, many were excused because they admitted they had already concluded that Entwistle was guilty of murder.

One man told judge Diane Kottmyer: "I think he is guilty. I have seen too much, read too much and I don't see that ever changing." Others were dismissed because of family weddings, personal illnesses and job commitments.