Ten years ago today (Wednesday, January 20) a story broke that horrified two nations and saw Worksop make global headlines.
A decade has passed since Worksop man Neil Entwistle snatched his father-in-law’s handgun and shot dead his 27-year-old American wife and their baby daughter in the master bedroom of their home just outside Boston.
The bodies of Rachel Entwistle and baby Lilian, who was just nine-months-old at the time of her death, were discovered by police two days later, hidden in piles of bedding.
Deciding not to alert the authorities, Entwistle prompted further suspicion by then boarding a British Airways flight and fleeing back to the safety of his childhood home in Worksop shortly after the killings.
He later told officers that he had discovered the corpses of his wife and daughter after running errands and, having no idea who killed them, had thrown blankets over their bodies before flying back to his native England distraught.
He was arrested on February 8 2006, a week after the burial of Rachel and Lillian in Kingston, Massachusetts, and brought back to Boston to face the courts.
Entwistle’s trial for double murder, which began on June 2, 2008 and lasted for 23 days, saw former Worksop Guardian chief reporter Debbie Lockett fly to Boston to cover the proceedings.
Though some publications claimed Entwistle showed no emotion throughout the trial, Debbie reported how Entwistle had become upset and had to be “handed a tissue” when the blood-soaked pyjamas of his daughter were shown to the jury.
Prosecutors said that Entwistle had trawled through the internet for “half price escorts” and searched “how to kill with a knife” a few days before the murder. They also claimed he had been in $30.000 worth of credit card debt, suggesting the motivation for murder could have been financial.
His DNA was also found on the handle of the 0.22 calibre handgun which belonged to Rachel’s father, Joseph Matterazzo.
Despite claims from defence lawyer Elliot Weinstein that Entwistle had attempted to cover up his wife’s suicide to protect her integrity, Entwistle was convicted of the murder of his wife and daughter and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Appearing at the sentencing Entwistle’s parents, Clifford and Yvonne, slammed the verdict and insisted their “good son” was innocent and that “all the evidence pointed” to Rachel killing her daughter before committing suicide.
The Guardian was then granted a world exclusive when Clifford and Yvonne handed Debbie a written statement in which they continued to protest their son’s innocence and criticised the American court system.
“We write this in the wake of the verdict of our innocent son Neil and we are devastated by the outcome,” the statement read.
“We chose to respect America by not being dragged into pre-trial propaganda as this trial was for the courtroom only.
“Unfortunately, America did not respect us back and has not given our innocent son a fair trial.”
Entwistle is now serving at a medium security prison, the Old Colony Correctional Centre, in Bridgewater.
He appealed his conviction in 2012 to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, but this was denied. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, meaning he will have no further appeals.