BRITISH IT consultant Neil Entwistle has appeared in court after being arrested in connection with the gun murder of his wife and child in the US.
He requested that he not be sent back to the US “at this stage” during the brief Bow Street Magistrates Court hearing – although he changed his mind the next day.
Saying little else – except confirmation of his name, age and address – at the brief hearing, he was then remanded in custody until another hearing at London’s Bow Street Magistrates Court.
Lawyer Joe Flaherty, a spokesman for Entwistle’s outraged inlaws, said in reaction that it was “incomprehensible how love and trust was betrayed in the ultimate act of violence”.
Earlier, Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley – the same person who successfully prosecuted nanny Louise Woodward – explained why a warrant for his arrest had been issued and reminded journalists that Entwistle was “innocent until proven guilty”.
He had been stopped around mid-day while he sat on a tube train at west London’s Royal Oak by officers who had been tailing him since a warrant for his arrest was issued last night.
Entwistle, who flew to the UK around the time wife Rachel, 27, and nine-month-old daughter Lillian were found gunned down at their Massachusetts home last month, did not put up a struggle.
The York University graduate, who had been staying with friends in London but has now been remanded in custody, is believed to have been trying to get to King’s Cross as part of his bid to escape press attention. Officers acted amid concerns they might lose him at his destination – which is one of the busiest stations in the UK.
Entwistle was not believed to be trying to flee the country at the time of his arrest which followed detailed searches by two teams of officers at his parents Clifford and Yvonne’s Worksop house in Nottinghamshire.
Local officers interviewed the couple from 10am while a Metropolitan Police team arrived about lunchtime and left with black bin liners containing undesclosed items taken from the garage and house where he previously lived with brother Russell.
Flaherty said: “The family is deeply saddened at the arrest of Neil Entwistle.
“Rachel and Lilian loved Neil very much. He was a trusted husband and father and it’s incomprehsible how that love and trust was betrayed in the ultimate act of violence.
“God didn’t do this – there is evil among us.”
And added that the family had “always been confident that the person who did this would be brought to justice.”
Martha Coakley had previously told a press conference after Entwistle’s arrest: “On Thursday night (19.1.06), Rachel was alive and had spoken with family members.
“At sometime 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 effected, but the suicide was not.
“What we believe happened next was that Neil Entwistle returned the gun to his father-in-law’s home in Carver, then made preparations to leave the country. As we know, he was observed at Logan Airport.
“He purchased a one-way ticket on British Airways at approximately 5am on Saturday morning, January 22. He was on an 8.15 flight to the United Kingdom on that day.
“He was then in Worksop with his parents.”
She added: “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.”
Charles Vine, who lives next door to Entwistle’s parents, said various police cars had been arriving at the house in Worksop for most of the morning.
He said: “A number officers – some in plain clothes, some in uniform got out, knocked on the door and went inside.
“They arrived in one marked car, another unmarked. They were in the Entwistle house for at least half an hour until they came out.
“Clifford, his father, looked really upset and just stood on the doorstep as officers went into the garage.
“They took some stuff out of there in black bags.”
He added: “I just don’t believe Neil has been arrested. I’m shocked to hear it.
“We don’t know the family very well because they keep themselves to themselves.
“This is the sort of community where you go home and lock your door behind you.
“This arrest scares the hell out of me and makes me wonder about who you live next door to.
“It really makes you think. It’s a bit frightening really to think that he was here among us only a few days ago.
“The only time I saw Neil since his return back to the UK was the day he left to go with officers to the US embassy.
“He didn’t say anything to us and just went to the car and was driven off.”
Former school friend David Thorpe said: “I’m really shocked and surprised that he’s been arrested for murder.
“It’s not the sort of thing you expect to happen to someone you once knew at school.
“I considered him a friend at Valley Comprehensive.
“He was a top bloke and the last person I would imagine to be involved in something like this.
“I remember a really nice guy and I feel really uncomfortable talking about him because of what is going on.
“He must be going through hell right now.”
And Thorpe, who said he had not seen Entwistle since the IT consultant left Valley Comprehensive in 1997, added: “I don’t know if I’d necessarily get in touch with him to say this but I do wish him the best of luck.”
The bodies of Entwistle’ wife and daughter were discovered under blankets in a bedroom on January 22 in the Hopkinton home the young couple had only moved into ten days previously.
Both had been shot with what detectives believe was a gun owned by Rachel’s father.
Around the time of their death, Entwistle had flown to the UK and moved back in with his parents in Worksop. He stayed there and did not fly back to attend his wife and child’s funeral. Tellingly, his name was left off obituary notices posted in local papers.
Described by US authorities as a “person of interest”, he was effectively a free man until today’s arrest and subsequent court appearance.
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