WOBURN, Mass. (AP) – When Joanna Gately showed up for dinner at the home of her close friend, Rachel Entwistle, she became concerned when no one answered the door or responded to her repeated phone calls.

Over the next 24 hours, Gately waited outside Entwistle’s Hopkinton home, slept in her car and drove around looking for Rachel, her husband, Neil Entwistle, and the couple’s 9-month-old daughter, Lillian Rose.

Eventually, she learned the horrible news: Rachel and Lillian had been fatally shot. Neil Entwistle, 29, a British citizen, was charged in the killings three weeks later.

On Tuesday, Gately testified at Entwistle’s murder trial, recounting how she and her sister went to the family’s home the night of Jan. 21, 2006, after Rachel invited them to have dinner at the couple’s new house that night.

Gately said she and her sister waited in the car, spoke repeatedly with Rachel Entwistle’s mother on the phone, and eventually found a neighbor who let them in the house by using a garage door code. When they got inside, they heard a television on in the living room, music coming from the baby’s room and saw the phone jack in the kitchen had been disconnected from the wall. They walked around the house, but did not find anyone.

Gately said she became increasingly worried as time went by, and there was no word from the family.

“The situation was unlike Rachel,” she said. “I was very concerned.”

Responding to a request for a well-being check from the Gately sisters and Rachel Entwistle’s mother, Hopkinton police looked in the house that night, but did not discover the bodies until a second check the following day, when they found mother and daughter fatally shot in the master bedroom, snuggled together under a thick comforter.

Authorities believe Neil Entwistle shot his wife and daughter on Jan. 20, 2006, then flew to England the next day. He was arrested in London on Feb. 9, 2006.

On Tuesday, a “welcoming lady” for the town of Hopkinton testified that Neil Entwistle appeared to be a loving, attentive father who “absolutely beamed” every time he looked as his daughter.

Authorities allege that Entwistle shot his wife and daughter with a .22-caliber revolver in 2006 after sinking deeply into debt and becoming despondent about his sex life.

But in the days before the murder, the Entwistles appeared to be a happy family, said Pamela Jackson, a Hopkinton resident who welcomes newcomers to town.

Rachel and Neil Entwistle seemed to have a “loving, adorable, engaged, attentive” relationship, Jackson said. “It was just a lovely family,” she said in response to questions from prosecutor Michael Fabbri.

Under questioning from Entwistle’s attorney, Jackson acknowledged she told police Entwistle was the most attentive father she had ever seen.

“Every time the baby gurgled or cooed or giggled or anything, he would actually avert his eyes and would really just concentrate on the baby,” she said. “He beamed, he absolutely beamed.”

Jackson’s testimony brought Neil Entwistle’s mother, Yvonne, to tears. She was led out of the courtroom by Entwistle’s father, Clifford.

Prosecutors also called a string of witnesses who testified about Entwistle’s flight to England after the killings.

Julie-Anne Aloise, an investigator with Citizens Bank, said Entwistle withdrew $800 from automated teller machines at Logan International Airport on Jan. 20 – the day of the killings – and was rejected when he made at least three other attempts to withdraw more money.

Carol Cox, a customer service supervisor for British Airways, said Entwistle was calm and polite when he approached her early in the morning of Jan. 21 and said he wanted to buy a ticket to London. After being told the computer system was down, Entwistle bought an electronic ticket and boarded an 8:20 a.m. flight to London’s Heathrow Airport without any luggage, Cox said.

Prosecutors allege Entwistle went to the airport on Jan. 20 after killing his wife and daughter, left the airport, then returned some time later and slept in his car before buying an airline ticket the next morning.


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