updated 12/19/2006 11:20:35 AM ET 2006-12-19T16:20:35

A British man charged with killing his wife and baby must remain locked up without bail, a judge ruled Tuesday, denying Neil Entwistle's request to return to his parents' home in England pending his trial in the double slaying.

Entwistle, 28, is accused of shooting his wife, Rachel, 27, and their 9-month-old daughter, Lillian, on Jan. 20, after allegedly becoming despondent over rising debts and dissatisfaction with his sex life.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Peter Lauriat, who held a pretrial hearing on Friday, denied the motion for pretrial release.

The court concluded "in the sound exercise of its discretion and consistent with the interests of justice, that the defendant's release on conditions of bail which would allow him to reside in England pending trial is neither warranted nor appropriate," Lauriat wrote in his three-paragraph ruling.

Entwistle's lawyer, Elliot Weinstein, had argued the court could set strict conditions for Entwistle's release to ensure his return to the United States for trial. Weinstein proposed that Entwistle be turned over to the custody of his parents in Worksop, England, where he would be confined to their home 24 hours a day and have to wear a global positioning device to track his movements at all times. His parents offered to post their home as collateral for his bail and risked losing the house if he violated conditions of his release.

Weinstein also argued Entwistle had no prior criminal record and would not pose a danger to anyone if released. He added that Entwistle was under no legal obligation to remain in the United States when he went to England last January after the shootings.

Weinstein did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.

'Fled the scene immediately'
The Middlesex District Attorney's Office declined comment on the ruling. In court last week, Assistant District Attorney Michael Fabbri argued Entwistle should be denied bail because he had shown "a clear pattern of flight and unreliability."

"He fled the scene immediately ... without seeking any medical help after purportedly finding his wife and his daughter in his own home," Fabbri said. He argued that allowing Entwistle to return to England would give him "an open door to 20-to-30 countries" where he could hide.

Entwistle, whose trial is scheduled to begin in October, allegedly told a state police detective that he returned to the family's Hopkinton, Massachusetts, home after doing errands last January to find his wife and daughter dead. He said he drove to his father-in-law's house in Carver to get a gun so he could kill himself, but was unable to get inside the house and decided instead to return to England to be with his parents. He was arrested in London in February and did not fight extradition to the United States.

Prosecutors have said Entwistle may have planned to commit suicide after killing his wife and daughter. A search of his computer showed that in the days before the slayings, he researched murder and suicide methods and trolled the Internet for escort services, according to investigators' affidavits.

If convicted, Entwistle faces a mandatory life sentence; Massachusetts does not have a death penalty.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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