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  • Published 20081202
  • ISBN: 9780733323935
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

AS BARACK OBAMA never tires of saying, America is a country where ‘ordinary people can do extraordinary things’. In January 2006, Neil Entwistle, a seemingly ordinary twenty-seven-year-old Englishman with an honours degree from the University of York who had been living in the United States for barely four months, shot dead his American wife, Rachel, and their baby daughter, Lillian, with a long-barrelled Colt .22 revolver borrowed from his father-in-law’s gun collection. By the time the bodies were discovered in their house in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, huddled together beneath a rumpled duvet in the brand-new four-poster bed bought by the couple just ten days earlier, Entwistle was home in England, living with his parents in Worksop, as if what had happened in America was a violent dream from which he’d woken to reality in his old back bedroom at 27 Coleridge Road.

For several days, it seemed that he was going to get away with it. The police then had no weapon and no motive. People who knew the Entwistles remembered them as a happy couple, with Neil as the ideal doting father. Their family website, rachelandneil.org, still eerily preserved at web.archive.org, is a Hallmark card-style commercial for wedded bliss, decorated with sepia-toned bridal sprays and full of pictures of the Mediterranean cruise, the weekend trip to Martha’s Vineyard, and baby Lillian at every stage of her nine months of life. Its home page is addressed to ‘Dearest family and friends’ and is signed ‘Love, the happy family’.

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