A deranged businessman who murdered a family of four in a bloody revenge attack after a commercial relationship turned sour has been jailed for at least 40 years.
Anxiang Du, 54, stabbed to death Manchester Metropolitan University lecturer Jifeng “Jeff’” Ding, his wife, Ge “Helen” Chui, and their two daughters Xing “Nancy”, 18, and Alice, 12, at their Northamptonshire home on April 29, 2011.
Du fled the country after the murders and later admitted the killings but said he should be convicted of manslaughter on the basis of either diminished responsibility or loss of control.
Barristers had argued he was suffering a severe depressive illness at the time of the killings but jurors dismissed the claims, taking just over three hours to unanimously convict him of the murders.
Sentencing Du, who stood in the dock staring down at his hands yesterday, Mr Justice Flaux told him the jury had rejected his defence of diminished responsibility or loss of control.
The judge said: “What is clear from the evidence and the verdicts is that these were cold-blooded murders which, in my view, were pre-meditated and were considered acts of revenge in which you wiped out an entire family.”
The judge said he believed Du had formulated his plan on the night of April 28 or the morning of the next day before carrying out the “frenzied attack”.
He said CCTV footage that showed him travelling to the Dings’ home revealed he was a “man on a mission” to commit the killings, which he described as “savage butchery”.
He killed the family after he lost a 10-year legal battle with the Dings and ended up owing £88,000 in court costs.
Post-mortem examinations showed that Du stabbed Mr Ding 23 times and Mrs Ding 13 times, leaving them to bleed to death in their kitchen. With their blood on his hands, he went upstairs and knifed Nancy 11 times, and Alice four, who made a desperate 999 call for police which captured their screams before the line went dead.
“Not content with the slaughter of the parents downstairs, you then went upstairs to the back bedroom where the two young Ding girls were cowering,” the judge said. “It is apparent from the fact that Nancy’s mobile made the 999 call, that they had heard what was happening downstairs and she was frantically trying to ring the police for help.
“At that moment it seems you came into the room and within a short period of time you had also murdered those poor defenceless girls. It is clear from their terrible haunting screams on the 999 call that it was during that call that you murdered them.”