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UK weekly flies reporter to USA on three-week murder trial assignment

A weekly newspaper has sent a reporter thousands of miles to cover a murder trial in America.

Debbie Lockett, chief reporter with the Worksop Guardian, is giving readers first-hand accounts of the opening days of the Neil Entwistle trial.

Entwistle grew up and was educated in the Nottinghamshire town before moving to America to make a new life for himself. He is charged with the double murder of his wife Rachel and daughter Lillian Rose, in January 2006.

He denies the charges and a separate offence of illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition.

Debbie is filing three or four reports a day as well as taking photos and video.

Editor George Robinson said: “She’ll be there for the duration of the trial. It will be about three weeks but it’s hard to tell.

“The company has been very supportive and I’m delighted that a reporter is out there.

“I wanted our own take on the trial and felt it was important that our readers were aware we are covering this from our own perspective, rather than taking a national feed.

“Also, the priority is to get this on our website, and filed reports from our own reporter out there has more value to our readers.”

Debbie has already done one live audio linkup on how the trial is progressing and will also be providing her own audio and filmed background pieces during the course of the trial.

She has also met the Entwistles – Cliff and Yvonne – in Worksop and they are aware of her presence out there.

He added: “It’s a major trial and you have to factor into the story that it’s not just about Neil Entwistle.

“The other side is that his father’s a district councillor here. He’s well-known and well-respected and his wife works in a local school.”

Back at home George is writing an online daily column on the problems that have been caused by American media exposure of the evidence prior to the trial coming to court.

The Boston Herald even sent a reporter to Worksop to gauge opinion in the town and asked George for an interview to speculate on the verdict – which he declined to do.

George said: “The reason I’m doing it is to properly present what I think is the more objective view on this trial.

“As far as they are concerned they think he is guilty and there’s been some weird headlines in the papers.”

The Nottingham Evening Post has also sent out reporter Kate Skelton to cover the trial.

She is filing back regular copy, audio and picture updates using a sophisticated mobile phone while the paper is negotiating with local TV stations for use of their video footage.

Deputy editor Martin Done said: “It is a bit fringy for us but obviously when a story becomes of a certain size, geography matters less.

“It’s a huge trial so for us to send a reporter out to America seemed natural.

“Even though we have agencies covering it, there’s more colour by actually being out there.

“It’s important for a local paper to send a signal that we think it’s important to cover big stories.”

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