TRANSCRIPT - The Entwistle Murders: Neil Entwistle, The Massachusetts Family Annihilator

[Music] This podcast contains descriptions of death and violence that some listeners may find upsetting. Hello and welcome to the Six O’clock Knock, the true crime podcast presented by me Simon Ford and major crime detective Jacques Morrell hi Jacques how you been hi Simon I’m much better thank you uh better for getting out and about again uh just like in the green bicycle case from the other week yeah I think we set a new standard for socially distanced investigations with that one didn't we yeah so today we are in the heart of Sherwood forest the legendary home of robin hood on the trail of an equally enigmatic outlaw yes and thanks to the notorious British summer weather we've taken shelter not in a hollow tree but in the historic forest lodge hotel at Edwinstowe across the road from the 9th century church where tradition has it Robin Hood married Maid Marian anyway apart from a drop of locally brewed ale what else brings us to royal Sherwood Simon oh well I was coming to that today's case is a modern one from right here in old Sherwood in fact I covered this story as a journalist and a news presenter with the BBC in Nottingham and it stuck with me ever since because you know I’ve been around a bit but this is my old stamping ground it's where I grew up and it involves an i.t expert Neil Entwistle from the nearby town of workshop he was found guilty in 2008 of shooting to death his wife Rachel and baby daughter Lilian rose at their home in the united states to be precise Hopkinton Massachusetts a small town in the Boston commuter belt Neil Entwistle was 28 and Rachel was 27. little Lilian was just nine months old the killings in January 2006 were the subject of a transatlantic media frenzy and we'll get into why shortly but first it's important to note that throughout the trial and his subsequent incarceration Neil Entwistle and his family have protested his innocence in fact a couple of years ago Neil Entwistle's father Clifford published a book called Neil's story trial by media that's right Simon and I do recall the case although it's not one I had any involvement in so coming at it fresh for me really and it's one of three books you asked me to read before this meeting today there was heartless the true story of Neil Entwistle and the brutal murder of his wife and child and that was by a woman called Michelle R. McPhee and there was a further book Neil Entwistle’s Day In Court by Michael Wells Gleuck now I want to point out that the McPhee book was published right at the start of the trial in 2008 and Cliff Entwistle cites this as an example of what he calls trial by media he alleges that coverage like this made a guilty verdict to foregone conclusion and in the face of this media bombardment he claims his son didn't stand a chance and here is Cliff Entwistle as he speaks to reporters outside the court in 2008 we will continue to fight for our innocent son with the hope that one day justice will prevail and our little granddaughter lily may rest in peace okay then those are our sources along with contemporary records and transcripts let's get into it and ask the difficult questions was Neil Entwistle a victim of trial by media was he the victim of a miscarriage of justice if so who killed his wife and daughter [Music] okay first some background Neil met Rachel Souza as she was then at the university of York in 1999 he was studying electronic engineering and business management she was an American studying English on her year abroad and they were in the university rowing club in 2001 after a stint back in the U.S. Rachel returned to the UK and worked for three years as a teacher at Redditch in Worcestershire the couple married in 2003 by which time Neil had started work at the Malvern office of the defence and security firm kinetic Lilian rose was born in April 2005. in july of that year Neil left his job at kinetic for domestic reasons six weeks or so later the family had relocated to Massachusetts where they moved into the home of Rachel's mother and stepfather Priscilla and joe Matarazzo okay just take you back slightly there Simon what do you mean there by domestic reasons well that was the phrase used by a kinetic spokesman who was contacted by the Worcester news in the aftermath of the murders and that I’m afraid is all the information I have okay anything else around this time well yeah it emerged later that between 2003 and 2004 Neil Entwistle registered a number of websites and start-up businesses including million maker dot co dot UK which promised customers six thousand dollars in monthly earnings and SR Publications which listed as its flagship product the big penis manual I see well that's interesting um I wonder if his wife knew um now that certainly shows there's another side to the and whistle it must be his secret life yeah I think that's what you call it isn't it um Neil spent four months living with his in-laws at their home in Carver Massachusetts there were arguments perhaps because he didn't have a job lined up and was having trouble finding work Cliff Entwistle says in his book Rachel shared with us that she was not settling in that Lilian had stopped sleeping through the night and that there were constant arguments between herself Priscilla and joseph for the sake of keeping the peace Neil and Rachel decided to move out and so it was after Christmas and Lilian's christening the couple leased a house in Hopkinton a little town about 50 miles from carver and near the highway into Boston they moved in around the 10th of January 2006 into what sort of house well six cubs path is a spacious four bed detached house with three bathrooms at the end of a cul-de-sac in a secluded wooded area in fact I got that from the realtor's website and I’ve got to say it's a gorgeous looking property yeah I’m just looking now the rent twenty seven hundred dollars a month that's two and a half thousand pounds it will take a steak dinner I suppose so how would the admissions afford this kind of house with neither of them working yeah I don't know uh maybe they borrowed money from the Matarazzos maybe they had savings maybe they'd sold somewhere in this country before they moved to the united states Michelle r McPhee says in heartless that Neil claimed to be waiting for payments from the British government to clear well if that's true it would set the alarm bells ringing wouldn't it what we got here and it specialist who resigned from his job sets up a dubious get rich quick scheme on some website moves to the us without a job then claims he's due a lot of money I would be buying a second hand the car off this guy well talking of cars the couple also leased a car a BMW x3 in Rachel's name and that was a further dollars a month so that's monthly outgoings by my ropey mathematics of almost 3 200 with no visible income that's before you add the bills and the credit card purchases of furniture etc McPhee says the couple owed nearly nine thousand dollars on credit cards with Rachel's student loan repayments on top of that and that is a lot of debt so unless there really was a wad of cash coming Neil's way from Whitehall Michelle McFee says money never seemed to be an issue Neil had given his in-laws the impression that he was earning ten thousand dollars a month from the English military to advise them on secretive computer programs let's take that with a pinch of salt Neil's dad Cliff was unaware of any money troubles and he wants to think that his son would have come to him first if he needed money okay maybe so Cliff and his wife also owned their house in workshop in Nottinghamshire so they had the resources to bail him out but Neil never asked and another thing as Cliff Entwistle tells us Neil was not going to gain through insurance policies so that was out [Music] so turning to the crime itself now this was a particularly horrible double murder which is in a large part what galvanized the media around it remember the us is different with these kind of media stories so let's look at the circumstances well this is Neil's story as told to the Massachusetts state police in a phone interview he made from his parents’ home in the UK on Monday the 23rd of January 2006. in this call he claims that at 9 00 am on Friday the 20th he went out to run errands he was supposed to be going to a job interview but that had been cancelled he hadn't told his wife this as far as Rachel was concerned Neil would be out for all or most of the day he says that he went to staples to buy a wireless router for his computer they had one but he wanted to see if Walmart had it cheaper he says he got lost on the way to Walmart and stopped at a Starbucks where he bought two lattes he bought some fuel he says he got home at 11 am when he found Rachel and Lilian shot dead in the master bedroom now a post-mortem examination found Lilian was killed by a bullet that passed through her abdomen her tummy basically and then it lodged above her mum's left breast as she cuddled her on the bed she was holding her like this Rachel was shot in the forehead at close range now Neil told the police that he then contemplated killing himself with a kitchen knife but thought it would hurt so he covered the bodies with the bed clothes and drove to his in-laws at least an hour away in carver where he knew there were guns intending to shoot himself okay hang on a second so he didn't call 9-1-1 he didn't call his in-laws no nor his parents no no none of that and this is where Neil Edwards story starts to unravel because he also told police he couldn't find a key to his in-laws house in carver however when the police recovered the BMW x3 they found that very key on the same bunch as the car key well he wouldn't have been thinking clearly and who would after seeing what he'd seen I think in a statement of police Entwistle said he was in a trance-like state uh yes and then there's the gun I thought you said he couldn't get into his in-laws house to get a gun because the house was locked and he couldn't find the key except he did have a gun the whole time remember the gun that had killed Rachel and Lilian a small calibre cult revolver belonging to his father-in-law joe Matarazzo end whistle later told police he was quote returning it to the house in carver so either he had a gun or he didn't have a gun and he could get into the carver house or he couldn't there are more holes in this story than like a Swiss cheese it sounds like a pre-meditated killing no wonder the police were keen to hear his story Neil Entwistle knew where joe Matarazzo kept his guns he knew where the keys were kept he did have a key to the house didn't he on the same key ring as his car keys so whenever he drove anywhere he took the key to the Matarazzo's house with him there's nothing stopping him from driving over letting himself in and taking a gun and he knew how to load and shoot this particular handgun because he'd been target shooting with his father-in-law Neil and we saw had plenty of time to commit the murders and because his wife thought he was at a job interview he could have driven to the in-laws taking the gun driven back done the shooting and returned the gun all while the Matarazzos were at work forget wanting to hear his story he needs the Six O’clock Knock and he needs someone back up right Six O’clock Knock time then okay Jacques so not easy when the suspect has flown out of the country Neil Entwistle's next stop give or take was Boston's logan international airport he did the rounds of local cash machines and bought a ticket for a flight to Heathrow the next day and then so it was at 8 20 a.m. on Saturday the 21st of January Neil Entwistle boarded a London-bound plane without any luggage and the gun back where it came from in joe Matarazzo's gun collection either Neil Entwistle could walk through walls or he became extremely confused or he was lying to the Massachusetts police okay so the flight to Heathrow takes what six and a half hours yeah about that yeah it's just after 3 p.m. Boston time so that's 8 p.m. London time Saturday the 21st of January Neil Entwistle is back in England his wife and child have been dead now for over 24 hours and so what's happening back at back at the scene in Hopkinton well Rachel and whistle was supposed to be having lunch with her mum that Saturday Priscilla Matarazzo called round but there was no reply and she was puzzled so she left a note it just wasn't like her daughter to break a date you know without phoning first two of Rachel's college friends Joanna and Maureen Gately were due for dinner that evening they were running late and they couldn't reach Rachel on the house phone or on her cell phone and Neil's cell was ringing out too. The Gatelies had been due at five but it was seven pm by the time they got to six cubs path in Hopkinton they called Priscilla Matarazzo to say the lights were on but nobody was home and the dog was barking inside at that point Mrs Matarazzo called the police and officers went to cubs path on a person check they opened the door with a blockbuster card went inside looked around they didn't go into the master bedroom but they did note the bed was unmade with bed clothes and a comforter that's kind of cross between a quilt and a bed spread heat on it okay so on this visit they didn't actually check the bed no not closely in the kitchen though they found information about the BMW and ran a traffic check on that but they didn't go into the master bedroom however having taken the dog for a short walk Joanna and Maureen Gately were concerned enough to spend all night in their car on the driveway of six cubs path waiting for their friends to come home which of course they never did now this is Massachusetts isn't it late January yeah I guess it's pretty cold it's very cold now that's a couple of devoted friends there that Rachel had all the time that they were outside concerned Rachel and baby Lilian were lying dead undiscovered inside the house yeah and this brings us to the morning of Sunday the 22nd of January Joanna Gately wanted to let the dog out again the women got the digital code to the garage door from a neighbour and let themselves in it's gone lunch time now and there's still no sign of Rachel Lilian or Neil and just after 5 p.m. the two friends plus Priscilla and joe Matarazzo walk into Hopkinton police station to file a missing person's report the police are by now concerned for the family's safety they go back to cubs path in through the garage and this time they find the bodies of Rachel and Lilian n whistle okay so let's get back across the Atlantic again what do we know about Neil Entwistle and his movements this is Sunday the 22nd he's back in England and he's had time to clear his head yeah not much actually he hired a car after landing at Heathrow on Saturday evening we know that much then he went off grid for 36 hours the Massachusetts police say that he put 800 miles on that higher car before pulling up outside his parents’ home in workshop on Monday the 23rd [Applause] [Music] okay so yeah we're turning left now into Coleridge road the elect missiles childhood home family home as he would have done those years ago after returning from the states I’m sure as we drive down into the cul-de-sac now that he would have taken a deep breath before he stepped through the door to explain to his parents what had happened so I guess Simon this is when you became aware of the local connection with this story yeah we saw workshop mentioned on the press association wire and I made some calls and the connection between Neil Entwistle and our patch stood up in fact it wasn't long before the world's media were camped outside the ant whistles gate here on Coleridge road in Worksop eventually Neil would leave here to stay with friends in London because he said he wanted to draw attention away from his family okay now in the meantime the Americans they put a file together and they've asked the British to give empty soul the proverbial Six O’clock Knock on the 9th of February he's arrested at a tube station in London and I’m not sure about the full story behind this but I guess they must have traced him through maybe technical means and presumably they thought he was reluctant to face the music yeah detectives had followed him on to the underground when the train stopped to the next station all the doors except the one nearest the suspect were kept shut only the door next to Neil ant whistle opened so officers could take him off the train now coming seven months after the seven-seven London bombings you can imagine this activity caused quite a stir now by the 15th of February Neil Entwistle is extradited to Massachusetts and he agreed to it and one condition of that was that Massachusetts does not have the death penalty on the next day February the 16th he pleads not guilty to first degree murder that is the premeditated murder of Rachel and Lilian rose [Music] Neil Entwistle's defence would be that Rachel had been suffering from postnatal depression that was what drove her to kill their baby and then herself but as we know there has been blanket coverage of this case in the media Neil Entwistle's flight back to England his arrest the extradition and that dramatic first court appearance so what evidence is there that he'd effectively been convicted by the court of public opinion before his case comes to trial well in no small part I suppose because of the length of time it took to reach trial Neil ant whistle spent wait for it 18 months on remand during this time there was unremitting coverage of the case coverage Cliff Entwistle says was detrimental to his son's right to a fair trial there wasn't a talk show in the land that wasn't all over the story like a cheap suit it was a go-to staple for the local news what I call the if it bleeds it leads brigade witnesses were on tv long before they gave evidence in court in England there was nothing stopping the tabloids republishing the American reportage in all of its lurid detail this juggernaut was driven by one thing money the story boosted circulation figures viewer ratings and advertising revenue bluntly it was the gift that kept on giving now all this time Neil's dad Cliff he claims that the prison put his son on suicide watch that they kept him in a cage six feet by ten feet with no hot food the light was left on according to Cliff and whistle day and night Neil Entwistle was allowed out of his cell once a day for a shower or to get some exercise but even this didn't stop another inmate from beating him up you know if this was such an open and shut case why spend so long bringing it to trial did the us authorities want to get a confession because they didn't 18 months of this Guantanamo style treatment and Neil Entwistle did not change his story not one iota let alone confess [Music] so could Neil's wife have killed her baby and then herself let's say maybe but after finding them Neil Entwistle flees not only the scene but also the country he makes contradictory statements about the gun he's the last person to see his family alive and he's the first person to find them dead he doesn't call 9-1-1 in fact he doesn't call anyone this doesn't look good for Neil and missile yes and his alibi is shaky nothing purchased at staples hence no receipt no recorded credit card purchase of fuel just the Starbucks receipt for those two coffees however in his book Cliff Entwistle puts forward a different version of events Neil was in the kitchen when he heard a loud bang he immediately ran upstairs to where he believed Rachel and little Lilian to be and he arrived at the threshold of the master bedroom just as Rachel turned the gun on herself and fired it a second time Rachel's eyes met kneels just before she pulled the trigger he saw the light go out in them okay that's quite a profound statement there and we presume this must have come from a private conversation between Neil and his dad I guess yeah when it was we don't know but was it mentioned at the trial no nor at the Massachusetts appeal court in 2012 where the conviction was upheld uh Cliff end whistle's book came out six years after that in 2018. well, I really don't know what to make of that now clearly Cliff Entwistle the father has his own version of what happened it might I suppose form part of an appeal to the us supreme court which is the way it would go but unfortunately Neil Entwistle was denied leave to appeal to the U.S. supreme court in 2013. also there's virtually no chance of him serving the rest of his sentence in the UK sometimes prisoners are shipped back aren't they but the Americans would have to approach the British and there's no incentive for them to do so now one thing intrigues me here Simon Neil emperor saul didn't take the stand nor did any of his family so his testimony in court was effectively the police statements that were read out is that correct correct the defence didn't put them on the stand his father and mother insisted he was innocent outside court in fact here's what Yvonne Entwistle told the waiting reporters I knew Rachel was depressed our son will now go to jail for loving honouring and protecting his wife's memory now I’m not familiar with American courts but with so much resting on whether Entwistle's telling the truth would the court have allowed a polygraph you know those lie detector tests that the Americans use well polygraph evidence has been admitted in at least one murder case in Massachusetts under what were termed restricted and carefully controlled conditions but Neil Entwistle has never taken one nor as far as I’m aware did his defence counsel request one at the trial or on appeal make of that what you will we've run ahead of ourselves let's go back to that trial in 2008. I can see that the prosecution honed in on Neil Entwistle's online activity shall we say yeah well um somebody logged into his laptop accessed adult friend finder dot com one on one sex dot com and the blonde beauty's escort service this user identified themselves as an Englishman living in the U.S. seeking relationships with American ladies he wanted to confirm that they were better in bed than women over the ocean we both want the same thing he wrote so there is little point in dragging it out the old romantic at least one of these sites visited was by a user with admin rights to the laptop giving Neil in whistle's name and UK address so this person and it's got to be Neil he's cheating on Rachel or at least he's planning to but does that make him a murderer it takes a leap of faith doesn't it to make that connection except somebody logged into the same computer under the username Ent did between the 16th and the 19th of January search for the best way to kill someone and four knife in neck kill this person also searched for quick suicide method the assistant D.A. Michael Fabry said this was end whistle planning murder ultimately the jury believed him they did and the trial lasted for 12 days at the end of which after deliberating for a day and a half the jury finds Neil and whistle unsurprisingly guilty on all counts is the defendant guilty or not guilty guilty of murder in the first degree of Rachel guilty of murder in the first degree of villain and whistle he's sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole to be blunt he'll die in jail [Music] so what do we know about Rachel Entwistle her husband's defence was that she killed their baby and then herself because she was suffering from postnatal depression does the evidence bear that out there's very little concrete evidence about Rachel or her state of mind in the media at the time and in Michelle McPhee’s book heartless Rachel is portrayed as what I’m going to call a slain Madonna she was loving and loved by all who met her she was the perfect mother she'd been a straight a student at holy cross the best college in the area and a devout Jesuit foundation in photos including the last ones taken of her and Lilian on Thursday the 19th of January she appears relaxed and smiling only after her death is their reference to postnatal depression I ask myself why with a four-month-old baby did she decide to leave her support network in Worcester England fly across the Atlantic and move in with her mother and stepfather does this indicate postnatal depression and the following January in the cold and dark of a new England winter had this depression grown worse reached crisis point well we know don't with it ten percent of mothers experience postnatal depression and it can take up to two years to develop either way something wasn't right in this marriage and I guess I guess she had a better support network in the united states than she did in England there was also something that compelled Joanna and Maureen Gately to sit in their car all night from Saturday the 21st until Sunday the 22nd what did they know the prosecution called them but the defence didn't also and this goes to the heart of Neil's defence Rachel had access to her father's guns too okay she'd shown no interest in shooting but what if the balance of her mind was disturbed what if she sneaked the gun out of the house in carver and took it back to Hopkinton what if she waited until her husband was out of the house before giving Liliana birth cuddling her on the bed and well you know the thing is Simon there's a lot of what-ifs there isn't there we're theorising on highly circumstantial evidence let's look at what Cliff Entwistle said in his book within a month of Lilian's birth Rachel had started to show signs of depression and she wanted to be back home with her mother okay I hear what Cliff Entwistle is saying here but she may have just been homesick Neil's parents were about a two-hour drive away from Worcester up to north Nottinghamshire they couldn't easily pop around to help her I suppose anyone with kids will know how tough it is with a new-born especially a first baby and what a godsend that grandparents can be Rachel and Neil didn't have that support on their doorstep when they were in England Cliff also claims and this is a quote from the book the D.A. rejected a public information request from a local newspaper to obtain transcripts of phone calls between Rachel and whistle and her mother to give an idea of Rachel Entwistle's state of mind and the trouble is we all sympathize with Mr Entwistle senior and it's understandable I suppose but his view is clearly biased I agree and we can only speculate because the defence didn't or so it seems dig any deeper if Rachel had post-natal depression there might have been something in her NHS records as far as I know nobody asked for them could these have been produced likewise Lilian's PCHR her personal child health record what parents in England know as the red book could the American authorities have access that yes they could in the circumstances they would have been made available if requested they might have been asked for we don't know in any case Michelle McPhee claims in her book heartless that Neil wanted to seek his fortune in the states and being married to an American citizen qualified him for that work permit yep you're right Jacques and in the tradition of the defence having the last word I think the media's failure to challenge or at least examine thoroughly the taboos and stereotypes around postnatal depression and suicide was every bit as prejudicial as their portrayal of Neil Entwistle as the devil [Music] incarnate [Music] is there anything I wonder in the secret squirrel stuff that Michelle McPhee brings up in in heartless here I mean Entwistle was an i.t expert he worked for the defence and security contractor kinetic in Malvern now that was formerly the royal radar establishment and his home in Hopkinton was an hour's drive from the headquarters of the U.S. navy the U.S. army the U.S. marine corps and the national guard all of them in Massachusetts the procurement arm of the U.S. air force had an office on a nearby base and companies like bae had and still have facilities in the area maybe he was working for the British government in 2006 the us supported by the UK was at war in Iraq and Afghanistan against the backdrop of the war on terror maybe Entwistle was telling the truth or he was a pathological liar they call them a walt don't they in the military someone who pretends to have been in the forces but hasn't yeah like Walter Mitty and given Entwistle's track record on his dodgy online dealings his double life it's fair to theorize that's exactly what he was even if he was say working on some classified radar project say for surveillance drones or whatever it still doesn't explain why he was suddenly compelled to shoot dead his wife and baby daughter fair point McPhee asserts that Entwistle had been ripping off customers for years in the virtual world while in the real world he didn't have a speeding ticket to his name a lovely guy who couldn't have been nicer that's what people said about him now this was Neil Entwistle's double life a life based on deception his wife and the Matarazzos were taken in by his external persona even I think his own parents fell for it yeah and ultimately the Neil Entwistle deceived himself this was his undoing he bluffed his way through things didn't he if we go back to his period in Worcester England he left his job for domestic reasons and he bluffed it out what he should have done was let Rachel go home to Massachusetts and delay joining her while he sorted himself a job out he's ended up putting himself in a pressure cooker he's got debt deceit on all this at a time when his relationship is under strain and there's an added complication there's a baby I’d like to know more about how that cult revolver came to be at Neil Entwistle's home when it was supposed to be at the Matarazzo's house an hour's drive away did Neil and whistle or his wife for that matter have a firearms license did he or she just take it or was it loaned I’ve dealt with lots of cases where things are loaned against the law of course and when the law gets involved its denials all round well there's no evidence that joe Matarazzo knew the gun had been taken and no evidence that he let Neil borrow it you know her son this is America you might need this for home defence that kind of thing there was an uptick in violent crime in Boston at this time gangs and crack but Hopkinton was a world away from all of that all Mr Matarazzo's guns were in a cupboard in his bedroom they had trigger locks that's a device that fits over a guns trigger and the trigger guard to prevent it being fired there were three sets of keys one in the kitchen one in Mr Matarazzo's nightstand and he kept to set on him so anyone who knew the house would be able to get hold of a gun that includes Neil and Rachel I don't know how often joe Matarazzo checked his guns but it's fair to speculate that somebody could have taken one and returned it a day or so later without him knowing yeah fair point the question remains though did Rachel take the gun with the intention of killing herself and the baby or did Neil take it with the intention of killing his family and then maybe taking his own life now the police they found Neil's DNA on the grips of that revolver they only found Rachel and Lilian's DNA around the muzzle resulting from the shooting there was a fingerprint on the trigger and that was joe Matarazzo's but he and everyone else had alibis and he'd fired that very pistol at the range on the Saturday the 21st the day after the killings the fingerprint just shows that he'd fired the gun most recently so all this shows is that this was the gun that fired the fatal shots we don't know who took it when they took it or crucially who used it to shoot Rachel and Lilian that's right Neil Entwistle's defence tried to use this ambiguity to show reasonable doubt that Neil was the killer it could equally have been his wife they said and there was gunshot residue on Rachel's hands not much but it was there they didn't find any in the BMW and of course they didn't find any on Neil because it would be almost two weeks before he was tested yeah but he could have put the gun in a bag before getting into the car he had more than enough time to destroy evidence that would incriminate him yeah circumstantially but are we sure that's actually what happened well the jury was convinced and the conviction was upheld four years later so yes beyond a reasonable doubt that is exactly what happened Neil Entwistle stole the gun murdered his wife and child and then put the gun back where he got it from now that is the very definition of premeditation let's loop back to that get rich quick scheme and the online pawn that Neil and we saw had dabbled in since I think 2002 now by Christmas 2005 SR Publications were selling software through eBay yeah and racking up a bunch of disgruntled customers who hadn't got what they paid for there was even some newspaper speculation at the time that somebody was out to get the old whistle maybe a mafia connection that somebody took revenge by shooting his family and they would have shot him too except he wasn't there now the back door was unlocked and the key code for the garage hadn't been changed you remember that the neighbours knew it and the house backs onto woodland and it's not far from the i-90 freeway could somebody who'd been ripped off had then found out where Entwistle lived and paid him a visit or maybe sent someone else to collect that debt you mean was there an unknown shooter or a hit well if there was they used a gun that came from joe Matarazzo's arsenal there's no suggestion that Mr Matarazzo loaned or gifted the cult revolver to his son-in-law or step-daughter everyone who had access to those guns has a cast iron alibi which means as tempting as it is to speculate we need to call out the unknown shooter theory is no more than tabloid fantasy and I think we all know the kind of tabloids that we're talking about yeah agreed now suppose Rachel discovered her husband's secret life that we talked about Cliff Entwistle tells us that the password to Neil's computer was sally and that was the name of the couple's dog it was common knowledge Rachel could have accessed Neil's profile and seen his browsing history his emails all the financial stuff maybe the bottom falls out of her world at this point she can't face living and she can't face her baby having a liar and a swindler for a father so she sneaks a gun from her father's house waits until she knows her husband will be out and or she confronts her husband who commits murder rather than being exposed okay enough theorizing look are you someone are you aware of Occam’s razor um if there are two explanations for something the one that needs the fewest assumptions is usually correct yeah or to put it another way the more assumptions you must make the more unlikely the explanation you know that was pretty much the prosecution's case Neil Entwistle's defence was things aren't always what they seem and while we explore a wilderness of mirrors the clear-sighted jury returned unanimous guilty verdict on all counts so was this verdict robust or was it a trial by media now there are big differences but there are also similarities between the way trials are conducted in England and in the U.S. the English system has been around since robin hood was taking from the rich and giving to the poor the American system branched off in when would it have been 1770s in fact a few years after this hotel where Saturn was built among other things Cliff Entwistle blames the American system for denying his son a fair trial allowing the evidence to be broadcast and spun by newspapers radio tv stations before the case even came to court we've mentioned the juggernaut of coverage driven by the quest for ratings the imperative of being first with that story or having a new angle to it remember the o j Simpson murder trial in 1995 was one of the most watched events in television history with 150 million American viewers tuning in to hear the verdict now broadly speaking in England and the united states Neil Entwistle would be presumed innocent it would be the job of the prosecution to convince a jury that he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt and I stress that not with absolute certainty but beyond reasonable doubt where the systems differ is their relationship with the media the us constitution yes you're right 1776 permits freedom of speech and the press that's the first amendment exactly right whereas in England the media are restricted by law in what they can report from the moment of arrest until the jury delivers its verdict breaking that law constitutes contempt of court a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment it's intended to stop information which might influence or taint I think is the word potential jurors getting out into the public domain so it could be argued then that Neil emperor was denied a fair trial because anyone in Massachusetts who was called for jury duty would have seen would have already seen that blanket coverage and they'd formed an opinion from it precisely the defence tried and failed to get the trial moved it's one reason Cliff Entwistle says his son's conviction is unsound and what evidence is there then that the jury was biased against him right the u s process for selecting jurors called voir dia is meticulous specifically to weed out those who are prejudiced 260 potential jurors were scrutinized 16 were chosen 12 to hear the case plus four alternates I guess you'd say they were on the subs bench and none of the alternates was needed Michael wells Gluck reports that jury selection took four days he says during which the defence exercised all of its challenges one prospective juror was dismissed after revealing sentiments along the lines of he's the fellow who murdered his family fry him and send him away such comments redoubled Entwistle's lawyers unsuccessful attempts to convince the judge to authorise a change of venue so the judge didn't change the venue but she had shown zero tolerance for prospective jurors who showed prejudice you know I mean I reckon it's not the English system but I reckon the judge and the legal process deserve more credit over there yeah we have our own unconscious bias maybe um a sense of superiority we brits don't have the same right to free speech as Americans we assume our system is better maybe just because it's older we assume Neil Entwistle's presumption of innocence was undermined by hysterical reporting but that is to ignore the robust role played by the judge and frankly that the jurors had the intelligence to separate the facts from the hype to answer the question yes of course there was a trial by media outside the court inside the court though because of the way the American system works not least through its rigorous jury selection process Neil and whistle did get a fair trial yeah I mean with freedom it comes responsibility you know and from the evidence we've seen the trial was conducted very responsibly indeed there may be differences but the judiciary in both countries has the same responsibility to ensure a fair trial if this murder had happened in England and you were to ask me whether Edward saw would have been convicted I would say yes the evidence may have been even stronger after being found guilty of murder in the first degree it is ordered by the court to be sentenced to the Massachusetts correctional institution at cedar junction for the term of life on indictment number 2006 387 002 after being found guilty of murder in the first degree it is ordered by the court to be sentenced to Massachusetts correctional institution at cedar junction for the term of life this sentence during concurrent with indictment three number 2006 zero zero one so what happened after the verdict Entwistle was taken to the old colony correctional centre to start his sentence in 2012 the Massachusetts appeal court ruled the conviction was sound in January 2013 end whistle failed in his attempt to get his appeal heard by the U.S. supreme court then in April of that year he wrote a letter to the Matarazzos in the hope he said that quote we may start to pursue peace between us Entwistle acknowledged that he had failed as a husband a father and a son-in-law but he was adamant he had not killed Rachel and Lilian Entwistle wanted to meet with the Matarazzos it didn't happen but the letter was all over the news for a day or two in 2016 to mark the 10th anniversary of the murders the Matarazzos launched the Rachel and Lilian rose foundation and this continues to raise awareness of domestic violence Clifford’s book came out in 2018 it got some coverage but by then the case was criminal history I suppose and that's how we came to examine it it's time to pull the threads together and propose an explanation for what happened and I stress this is a possible explanation not a justification or an excuse for what Neil Entwistle did on the 20th of January 2006 in 2010 the American national institute of justice published a paper called men who murder their families what the research tells us the authors discuss the reasons for familicide a theme that we've covered in a previous podcast money was always a contributory factor they found and in most cases they agreed the killers were aggressive controlling men with a history of domestic violence who've basically been building up to it but there were edge cases and they called them anomic suicides economic suicides occur when there are radical and significant changes in a person's social and economic environment so let's take Neil n whistle uprooted from his native England struggling to find a job renting a 2700 a month house with no income leasing a car for almost 500 a month credit cards maxed out his online scams are failing the rules of the game had changed and he was in over his head the pawn and the escorts could have all been displacement activity you know a distraction from the reality that he was bust and about to be exposed as a fraud so you're saying that this is why he shot dead his wife and baby daughter because he was homesick about to be unmasked rather than come clean he decided they would all go together but having shot Lilian and Rachel then he couldn't go through with killing himself sure maybe the strongest human instinct of all gripped him in that moment the instinct for self-preservation or to put it another way he bottled it he described himself I think subsequently as a coward okay suppose we buy your armchair psychology it might explain Entwistle's behaviour after the shooting the deed itself was planned he'd intended to turn the gun on himself but couldn't suddenly there was no plan and everything else afterwards was chaotic except why return the gun to the Matarazzo's house did the Olympics will know that Matarazzo would be using it on a Saturday on his trip to the gun club did he hope that this would obliterate any trace of him using it and how I mean in this self-confessed trance-like state of panic did he have the presence of mind to take his passport with him it sounds to me as if both the shooting and the getaway were premeditated yeah you're right I’m probably looking for an answer where there isn't one whichever way we look at it whatever the motive it is hard to see this is anything other than a cold-blooded calculated double murder Neil ant whistle never intended to kill himself he wanted to rid himself of his family and in 28 states of the union though not Massachusetts he'd have gotten the death penalty instead he'll spend the rest of his life in jail and let's not forget Neil episode isn't the only one serving a life sentence here the Matarazzos and the ant whistles have lost a daughter a daughter-in-law and their lovely little granddaughter and joe Matarazzo must live with the knowledge that it was his gun that was used to fire the fatal shots after all it was Mr Matarazzo who took Neil to the gun club as his way of introducing him to the American way of life in an impact statement at the trial Priscilla Matarazzo said her family faced an eternity of emptiness without Rachel and Lilian our dreams as a parent and grandparent have been shattered by the shameful and selfish act of Neil Entwistle she told the court and what of Rachel and Lilian especially Lilian she'd be a teenager now I’ll look at the pictures of the place where they'd lived and it's one big adventure playground it's a place to bring up a family there's the Whitehall state park and the Whitehall reservoir lake Maspenock is just down the road this is Charlie Brown's America it is isn't it all those hopes and dreams destroyed with two squeezes of a trigger what a bloody waste I condemned Neil Entwistle for compounding the unspeakable nature of what he has done by disparaging the memory of his wife and vilifying the entire Matarazzo family by his decisions during the course of this trial we'd like to say a big thank you to Ashley, Audrey and everyone here at the forest lodge hotel in Edwinstowe for their kind hospitality friar took would approve and we do too definitely and thanks to to the associated press for the audio clips that we've used in this review and special thanks to you as well for your company more episodes of the Six O’clock Knock are available on apple and google podcasts Spotify Spreaker and other platforms we hope you'll come back to enjoy another Six O’clock Knock the Six O’clock Knock is presented by Simon Ford and Jacques Morrell and produced by Paul Bradshaw and is available on every major listening app please help us spread the word by giving us a five star review and telling your friends to subscribe. 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