FOR the first time in two years the parents of Worksop’s Neil Entwistle have spoken out about life after their son’s double murder conviction. Entwistle, now 32, has spent the last two years serving life in a US prison after he was found guilty of killing his wife Rachel, and baby daughter Lillian in Massachusetts America. And last week he formally lodged his appeal. This week Entwistle’s father Cliff, a Bassetlaw councillor and his mum Yvonne, of Coleridge Road Worksop released the following statement:
“In January 2006, our lives were turned upside down when we received the news that would change our lives for ever and we ended up in a place beyond hell.
We lost dear and our beautiful granddaughter Lilly, which brought us to our knees. But to also find that the State of Massachusetts authority and the Matterazzo spokesman were accusing our innocent son Neil of this crime, put us in one of the deepest pits anyone could ever have been in.
The decision not to go to the funeral was one of the most heart wrenching decisions that we have ever had to make. We had telephoned the Matterazzo’s and left message after message for details of when the funeral was to take place, but to no avail. We had plane tickets to book, but Neil’s lawyer advised Neil not to go, but as Rachel’s in-laws and Lilly’s grandparents no one was advising us not to. We sat up all night trying to make this decision and came to the conclusion that if we did go, it would turn into a media circus, and as Lilly’s grandparents and as Rachel’s in-laws, we gave them the respect and love they deserved. We knew that the media would persecute us, but then as of now, we would not allow this to affect our decision. On the day of the funeral, we as a family went to a special place dear to Neil and Rachel, and as the funeral took place many miles away, we each in turn laid one white rose and one lilly and said our prayers and goodbyes to our loved ones.
In the months that followed which turned into two and a half years before the trial took place, these were horrendous times. What was being said in the State of Massachusetts about our innocent son Neil was unbelievable and was for the most of it, without any proof whatsoever. The authorities were saying through the media that Neil was guilty and the potential jurors were listening to this. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?
When the trial finally came and we flew across the Atlantic as a family to support Neil, due to all totally biased pre-trial publicity against Neil, we knew deep in our hearts what the verdict would be.
Before and during the trial we were advised by our lawyer to say nothing, but after the verdict two years of pent up emotion spilled out on the steps of the courthouse.
That anger and determination for justice is still with us.
To be able to cope, to be able to face each new day, we have had the help of family and some of the most remarkable friends, work colleagues and councillors that anyone could ever wish for.
Also from strangers in our town, people within the UK and America, that have sent us beautiful cards and emails, whom many now, especially over in the US have become dear friends, and we have met many of them on our visits to see Neil.
Without these people we would never be getting through this, and we thank you all.
We can never repay any of you enough for all that you have given and done for us.
We have been waiting and waiting for this appeal, because alongside this appeal we will be speaking out.”
By Cliff and Yvonne Entwistle