Testimony: Entwistle had keys to home, skills with gun

Norman Miller

A British man accused of killing his wife and infant daughter had keys to the Carver home from which prosecutors say he stole the gun used to kill them in their Hopkinton home two years ago, according to testimony Friday.

Priscilla Matterazzo said her son-in-law, Neil Entwistle, 29, also knew where to find the key to the gun safe in her home containing the Colt .22 revolver which prosecutors say he used to shoot his wife Rachel, 27, and daughter, Lillian Rose, 9 months.

Matterazzo was one of five witnesses who testified Friday in Middlesex Superior Court, the first day of testimony after four days of jury selection.

Also Friday, prosecutor Michael Fabbri and defense lawyer Elliot Weinstein presented their opening statements.

In his opening, Fabbri used Entwistle's own words to investigators to highlight what the prosecutor suggested defied common sense. Entwistle, he said, claimed to go into a state of shock after finding his wife and baby dead in the upstairs bedroom of their 6 Cubs Path home.

“It was obvious what had happened, I could see the hole in Lillian,” Fabbri said, quoting Entwistle. “I didn't even think of funeral arrangements. I didn't even call 911.”

Instead, Fabbri said, Entwistle claimed he drove to Carver to get one of Rachel's stepfather's guns to kill himself, but he couldn't get into the house. Entwistle also said he couldn't get in touch with his mother-in-law because she was at work.

Both are lies, Fabbri said.

“Evidence will show that he had the means to get into the house,” the prosecutor said. Friday's testimony backed up Fabbri's assertions.

Priscilla Matterazzo told jurors she gave a set of keys to the Entwistles when they moved temporarily into her Tremont Street home. She also kept a spare set of keys hidden in a doghouse, which the Entwistles knew about.

In her testimony, Matterazzo undercut Neil's claims that he didn't know how to find her at work. She said the whole family, including little Lillian Rose, visited her at Harbor Medical Associates in Braintree where she worked as a medical assistant.

Matterazzo's co-workers, Laureen Mahoney and Margaret Cafano, also testified they had met Neil Entwistle at the office.

Matterazzo said the family appeared to be happy.

“They seemed to get along very well,” said Matterazzo. “They seemed to have a friendship, and seemed to love and respect each other.”

Neil Entwistle spent several hours a day working on a computer in an office at the Carver home, Matterazzo said.

On Jan. 11, the Entwistles moved to Hopkinton, but returned to the Carver home on Jan. 16 because Entwistle had to use the computer, Matterazzo said.

“He was very distant,” she said. “He was up in the office, mostly. He just left that day without saying goodbye.”

Matterazzo described how she and her friend, Theresa Ann Pratt, made plans with Rachel to visit in Hopkinton on Jan. 21. When they arrived, no one seemed to be home, she said. After trying unsuccessfully to get into the house and to reach them by phone, Matterazzo and Pratt said they returned to Carver.

Later that night, Rachel's friend, Joanne Gately, called Matterazzo and told her the family was still not home. Matterazzo then called police.

“If she made plans, she was always there,” she told jurors. “I asked them if they could go in the house and see if everything was OK.”

That night, police found nothing, but the following day, Matterazzo filed a missing persons report. That night, on Jan. 22, around midnight, Hopkinton Police Chief Tom Irvin broke the news about finding the bodies.

“I was shocked and upset,” she said. “(Joe Matterazzo) was shocked and upset.”

Matterazzo also testified that Entwistle did not attend the wake or funeral for Rachel and Lillian Rose. Prosecutors say he had fled to his home in Worksop, England, but did send flowers.

Through cross-examination, defense lawyer Stephanie Page suggested that Rachel may have been depressed when she moved to the United States in August 2005. Neil joined her shortly after Labor Day, according to testimony.

Rachel's mother rejected the idea her daughter was depressed.

Page quizzed Mrs. Matterazzo about Rachel's relationship with her stepfather, Joseph Matterazzo.

Page asked her if Joseph Matterazzo was upset about having a home suddenly full with a second family.

“Wouldn't he get upset, complaining there were too many people in the house?” Page asked. Priscilla Matterazzo admitted it sometimes happened.

Mrs. Matterazzo also said she couldn't say for sure whether Rachel also used the Carver home computer to help her husband run an online company, Embedded New Technologies.

Neil appeared to be a good father, Mrs. Matterazzo told Page.

“You would often see Neil in the family room, trying to quiet the baby, so she wouldn't wake you and Mr. Matterazzo,” Page asked. Matterazzo said that was true.

Rachel's uncle, Lloyde Cooke, said he and Joseph Matterazzo taught Neil how to shoot at the Old Colony Sportman's Club in Pembroke.

“He handled the firearm well,” he said.

In Fabbri's opening statement, he described the day Entwistle was arrested. He was at a London train station when a friend, Dashiel Munding, learned that the police were looking for him. Neil wondered if there was a way out of the train station to avoid police, Fabbri said.

“Dashiel came running and told Neil to come with him and they'd meet the police, and Neil said, `Is there another way off this platform,' “ Fabbri told jurors.

In one of Neil's pockets, British police found an ad for paid escorts and a notebook in another. One one side of the notebook, Fabbri said, Neil expressed “deep loss” over the deaths of his wife and daughter. On the other side, the prosecutor said, was a note about making a large sum of money off the story.

In his opening, Weinstein painted Entwistle as a doting father and a loving husband who was devastated when he found his slain wife and daughter.

“On Jan. 20, 2006, Neil Entwistle's world changed, never to be the same,” Weinstein said. “Neil loved his wife and Neil loved his daughter and on Jan. 20, he lost them.”

Weinstein said Fabbri seems to present a well-laid out case, but that's not necessarily true.

“If it was that clear, if it was that easy, we would not be here,” said Weinstein. “It's not that clear. It's not that easy. Over and over and over again during this trial, you will learn that things are not the way they first appear.”

On Monday, Cooke will face cross-examination from the defense, and other witnesses are expected to testify.

Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or at nmiller@cnc.com.