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Neil Entwistle

Crime Files
Neil Entwistle

“Getting married to the most amazing woman in the world this summer: Rachel. We met through rowing. She was my cox, I her stroke! She’s from the good ol’ US. “ Neil Entwistle on, 2003 Source: Jonathan Raban, Just Two Clicks, The Virtual Life of Neil Entwistle

Neil Entwistle is born in September 1978 to parents Cliff and Yvonne. His home is working class, his father works as coal miner and his mother as a cook at a school cafeteria. He lives with his family near Nottingham and attends the University of York receiving a Masters Degree in Electronic Engineering.

While at university he meets Rachel Souza and they marry on 23 August 2003 in Massachusetts, US. They live in Worcestershire where two years later their daughter Lillian is born. Neil Entwistle works in IT and Rachel as a teacher of English at St Augustine's Catholic High School in nearby Redditch. After emigrating to the United States later that year, the couple stay with Rachel's mother and stepfather, Priscilla and Joseph Matterazzo, in Carver, Massachusetts before finding a house of their own. It is in this rented house in the small town of Hopkinson where the horrific double murder of Rachel and her daughter Lillian Rose plays out. Family and friends speak about how the Entwhisles were the perfect family.

Nothing hinted at the horror that was to come. Neil Entwisle did not appear to be someone capable of double murder. Prior the events on the 20 January 2006, he seems to have led a crime-free life.

Prosecutors at his trial for the murders would speak about his debt, failing online businesses and visiting escort sites as possible motives for the crimes. Commentators on the crimes wonder if Entwistle would kill his way out of his problems.

The Investigation

"Looking back on it, I don't know why - why I did things how I did,'' said Entwistle.”Once I kind of realized what happened ... you think in those situations I would just look and break down, but that's not what went through my head. Well, the first thing I wanted to do was to do something to myself.''' Neil Entwistle speaking about finding his wife and child bodies to Sergeant Robert Manning of Massachusetts State police. The Telegraph, 21 June 2008His wife and child were dead and Neil Entwistle was nowhere to be found. Initially, Neil is not a suspect, just a person of interest. This quickly changes as the police investigation gains momentum.Detective Sgt. Robert Manning is the lead officer investigating the case for Massachusetts police. Finding Neil is missing, he phones the Entwistle’s home in Nottingham. It proves to be an odd telephone call. During the conversation, which is later played at his trial, the police ask Entwistle for his version of events surrounding the deaths. He explains how he returned from doing chores around 11am on the 20 January and found his wife and child dead in their home. He maintains he no idea who has killed them. His first thought was to kill himself. In a confusing move, he neglects to call police for help.During the phone call, Entwistle tells police how unable to kill himself with a knife, he seeks a gun at his in-laws house. Intrigued by this disclosure, the police speak with his step-father, Joe Materazzo, who confirms they have taught Neil to shoot their Colt .22 handgun. The investigation makes a breakthrough discovery, the gun found at in-laws house is the murder weapon. Forensic tests reveal that Neil’s fingerprints are on the gun.The investigation looks into Entwistle’s personal circumstances and finds he is unemployed and has been since 2005 plus he has racked up has $30,000 of credit card debt. Authorities suspect there could be a financial motivation for the killings. Even more concerning to the police were his recent activities online: a search of Entwistle's computer reveals that days before the murders, he looked at a website that described "how to kill people" and escort services.Establishing links being between Entwistle and the murder weapon plus his poor finances and promiscuous behaviour are casting doubt on Entwistle claim of a perfect family life. The police decide they have the enough evidence to build a case against Enwtistle for the double murder of Rachel and Lillian.

The Investigation

“Based upon forensic information late Tuesday afternoon that linked the .22 handgun owned by Joseph Materazzo both to Neil Entwistle and to Rachel, we believed we had probable cause to seek an arrest warrant for Neil Entwistle’s arrest."

Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley told a press conference after Entwistle’s arrest. Boston Globe, Feb 9 2007

With a loving wife and new baby daughter at his side, good-looking and successful and living the American dream, it looked to the outside world as if Neil Entwistle had it all. But he was living a lie.

At a press conference after Entwistle’s arrest, Middlesex County District Attorney, Martha Coakley tells the waiting press about the lead up to the police’s move on Entwistle,

"On Thursday night (19 January 2006), Rachel was alive and had spoken with family members.At some time on Friday morning, Neil Entwistle — with a firearm we believe he had secured at sometime before that from father-in-law Joseph Materazzo — shot Rachel Entwistle in the head and then proceeded to shoot baby Lillian, who was lying on the bed next to her mother. We believe possibly this was intended to be a murder-suicide, but we cannot confirm that. Obviously the murder was affected, but the suicide was not.”

On 9 February, the Extradition Unit of London's Metropolitan Police arrests Neil at the Royal Oak underground station in London. When police make the arrest, Entwistle has three things on him which prove helpful to the prosecution: a one-page eulogy to Rachel, a draft of his bid to sell his story to the newspapers and third is a page torn from the Daily Sport, advertising the services of prostitutes and escort agencies.

On 15 February, Entwistle is taken into the custody by US police and flown back to the United States after he waives his right to fight extradition.

On 28 March, US police indict Entwistle on two counts of murder.

The Trial

“Our dreams as a parent and grandparent have been shattered by the shameful, selfish act of one person, Neil Entwistle.” Victim-impact statement from Rachel’s family read to Middlesex Superior Court at Neil Entwistle’s sentencing. BBC News Online, 25 June 2008

Neil Entwistle’s trial begins in courtroom 430 at the Middlesex Superior Court on 2 June 2008. He is on trial for his life: the charges are first degree murder of his wife Rachel and 9-month-old daughter, Lillian Rose. He denies all charges.

Michael Fabbri, Assistant District Attorney, leads the court through the case against Entwistle. During the course of the trial, the prosecutor brings over forty witnesses before the court, taking 12 days to set out their case.

The defence rests without putting any witnesses on the stand.Entwistle does not give evidence in his own defence; the only time the court hears his voice is in a recording the police conversation makes between Neil and Sgt. Manning. Entwistle’s reaction to the news that Rachel and Lillian’s deaths are being treated as foul play surprises the detective: “OK” says the newly bereaved husband and father.

The court hears compelling witness testimony. In a haunting day of evidence from Rachel’s step-father, Joe Matterazzo, he tells the jury how in conversation about funeral arrangements in the days after the murders, Entwistle asks that Rachel and Lillian Rose be buried together, “Because that’s the way I left them...”Rachel's stepfather reports another troubling thing to come up his conversation with the newly bereaved Neil: "I don't know how it got this way. I was only gone for a couple of hours. Someone shot them.”

The jury sees crime scene photos and is told that a post-mortem examination found Mrs Entwistle was shot in the forehead at close range and Lillian was killed with a bullet which passed through her abdomen and lodged above her mother's left breast as she cradled her on the bed.

The jury takes two days to find Entwistle guilty of the double murder. He is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As with his demeanour throughout the trial, on hearing he will die in prison, Entwistle shows no emotion.

The Crime

“Sometimes you just don’t know why … No “why” would really explain this. There is no why.” Lead prosecutor, Michael Fabbri talking about Neil Entwistle’s possible motive for double murder. Jonathan Raban: Two Clicks, the life of Neil EntwistleWith the excitement of moving into their own home, Rachel Entwistle was looking forward to the weekend; her plans were to play host to her mother and her best friend. Full of anticipation, Rachel speaks with her mum, Priscilla, on the evening of 19 June 2006. It was the last time anyone has contact with Rachel. Within 24 hours, both she and her baby daughter would be dead.Unable to get a reply, the frustrated visitors alert the police who visit the Entwistle house. Remarkably, they find nothing. When they return a day later they make a grim discovery: lying on the bed in top floor bedroom as if asleep, are Rachel and Lillian Rose.A single gunshot to the head ends Rachel’s life. Lillian has sustained a fatal gunshot to the abdomen. Poignantly, it seems Lillian was killed as she was being cradled by her mother.There are no signs of a murder weapon, an intruder or motive. The unexplained murders of the mother and child are among the most mysterious in American criminal history. The newspaper headlines talk of the horror of a slain mother and daughter.By the time the bodies are discovered by the police, Neil Entwistle has flown thousands of miles away travelling to his parents’ home in England.


August 2003 University sweethearts, Neil and American -born Rachel Souza marry in the USApril 2005 The couple’s daughter Lillian is born. They relocate to the US shortly afterJan 2006 Entwistle views a Web site describing how to kill people. He also searches the internet on how to commit suicide, how to kill someone with a knife and euthanasia20 Jan 2006 Rachel Entwistle, and 9-month-old daughter, Lillian Rose are shot at their Hopkinton home, Boston, USA21 Jan 2006 Neil Entwistle leaves his home in Boston, USA and flies to his parents’ home in England22 Jan 2006 The bodies of Rachel and Lillian Rose are discovered by the police1 Feb 2006 The funeral for Rachel and Lillian is held8 Feb 2006 Entwistle is arrested by the Metropolitan Police Extradition Unit at the Royal Oak tube station in London15 Feb 2006 Entwistle is flown back to the United States after he waives his right to fight extradition in England28 March 2006 A Middlesex grand jury indicts Entwistle of two counts of murder, the illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunitionJune 2008 Neil Entwistle stands trial for murders of his wife and child

25 June 2008 Entwistle is found guilty of double murder

June 26 2008 Entwistle is formally sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole