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US shootings man launches appeal

Lawyers for a British man serving a life sentence in the US for shooting dead his wife and baby daughter have launched an appeal against his conviction.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has heard arguments from Neil Entwistle's lawyer, Stephen Paul Maidman, who called for a new trial for the convicted murderer.

Entwistle, who is originally from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, was jailed in June 2008 for shooting his American wife Rachel, 27, and their nine-month-old daughter Lillian at their home in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, on January 20 2006.

Mr Maidman argued that Entwistle should be given a new trial because, he said, police entered and searched the family's home twice in two days unlawfully without warrants and that evidence obtained during these searches should have been suppressed by the judge. He also questioned the impartiality of the jury selection during the 40-minute hearing.

Police found the bodies of Rachel and Lillian in bed during their second check of the home in January 2006. Before the presiding appeal judges sitting at the state's highest court, Mr Maidman argued that evidence taken from the rented property during the searches should have been suppressed during the trial because it was unlawfully obtained by the police.

"On the two occasions when the police entered the defendant's house, the police did not have objective knowledge of an emergency inside the house or have objective knowledge that there was a person inside the home in need of immediate aid," Mr Maidman argued in his appeal brief.

He continued: "The inevitable discovery doctrine does not purge the taint on the evidence seized as a direct result of these unlawful searches or the taint on the evidence derived from these unlawful searches. All of this evidence should have been suppressed at the defendant's trial."

One of the presiding judges asked: "People are missing, a baby is missing, what's not an emergency about that? There may be evidence in the house to where they can be found."

Mr Maidman replied: "The searches were not reasonable under the emergency aid document. They should have gone to the court for a warrant."

But prosecutors have argued that the police were justified in entering the property because they were responding to concerns about the family's wellbeing raised by friends and relatives. They say that Entwistle had become despondent after accumulating tens of thousands of dollars in debt and had complained about his sex life with his wife.


From Belfast Telegraph