US court hears Neil Entwistle's murder appeal application

Neil Entwistle, his wife Rachel and daughter Lillian Rose
Image caption The defence claimed Mrs Entwistle had killed their baby before turning the gun on herself

A Nottinghamshire man jailed for life in the US in 2008 for shooting dead his American wife and baby daughter is putting forward his case for a retrial.

Neil Entwistle, 32, of Worksop, was convicted of murdering Rachel, 27, and nine-month-old Lillian Rose in 2006.

His lawyer says evidence was illegally seized and should have been suppressed and that jurors may have been biased by media coverage of the case.

Evidence is being heard at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

A decision about whether Entwistle will be granted a retrial could "take weeks or even months", a clerk at the court said.

Entwistle, a former IT consultant, fled to the UK the day after the murders at the family's Massachusetts home in January 2006.

In the appeal brief, filed at the state's Supreme Judicial Court in June 2011, lawyer Stephen Paul Maidman argued that two home searches by police were carried out without warrants and that the evidence seized should have been suppressed during the trial.

Mr Maidman submits: "The two warrantless entries into the defendant's house by the police violated the federal and state constitutions."

'Just' trial

He also argued that the judge did not thoroughly question potential jurors to identify any bias against Entwistle after intense international news coverage of the case.

A request from Entwistle for the trial not be held in Middlesex County was denied by the judge at the time.

Prosecutors have said police were justified in entering the property because they were responding to concerns about the family's wellbeing raised by friends and relatives.

Middlesex district attorney Gerry Leone, whose office prosecuted the case, said Entwistle received a "true and just" trial.

At the 2008 trial, jurors rejected Entwistle's defence that his wife had killed their baby before turning the gun on herself, and that Entwistle had covered it up to "protect her honour".

The couple met through a rowing club when Entwistle was studying at the University of York.

They married in 2003 and moved to the US shortly after their daughter was born. Entwistle was said to have been looking for a job in the US.

Mrs Entwistle taught at St Augustine's Catholic School in Redditch, Worcestershire, between 2002 and 2005.

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