Justice at
last after
bungled
massacre
inquiry

A businessman who “massacred” a family of four will finally be brought to justice today after a series of police mistakes allowed him to go on the run for more than a year.

Anxiang Du, 54, stabbed Manchester Metropolitan University lecturer Jifeng “Jeff” Ding, his wife Ge “Helen” Chui, and their two daughters, Xing “Nancy” 18, and Alice, 12, to death on April 29, 2011, in revenge after losing a 10-year legal battle.

A jury took just over three hours yesterday to unanimously convict him of four counts of murder following a two-week trial at Northampton Crown Court.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Du, who had denied the murders, looked down in the dock as the verdicts were read out. He will be sentenced today.

The four bodies were not discovered at the Dings’ home in Wootton, Northamptonshire, until two days after the murders, despite the two girls making a desperate 999 call on the day of the killings.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found Northamptonshire Police had mishandled the emergency call, resulting in officers being sent to the wrong address and the call being closed prematurely.

Police only discovered the bodies on May 1, after a neighbour reported seeing a body laid on the floor through a back window.

Jurors had wiped away tears as they were played a recording of the 999 call, made from Alice Ding’s mobile phone at 3.32pm. The screams of both girls could be heard before the line went dead.

Speaking at a media briefing at Northamptonshire Police headquarters, Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies, from Northamptonshire Police, admitted they will “never know” what may have happened had the call been handled correctly.

It has also emerged that officers missed the bodies after they were sent to the Dings’ address on the morning of May 1 – just hours before the neighbour reported his grim find.

West Midlands Police asked Northamptonshire Police to visit the Dings after Mr Du’s wife Can Chen reported her husband as missing on April 30 and mentioned the dispute.

The officers visited the Dings’ house at 8.10am on May 1 but when there was no reply, they simply posted a card through the door and left, with four bodies lying inside.

Meanwhile Du had already fled the country – having travelled to London overnight and boarded the 8am coach from London Victoria to Paris Gallieni on April 30.

From Paris, where his passport was not checked, he travelled to Algeciras in Spain where he caught the ferry to Tangier in Morocco. Following an international manhunt, Du was finally arrested in the city last July – after 14 months on the run.

Lengthy negotiations followed between the UK and Moroccan authorities before he was extradited back to the UK in February this year to face murder charges.

Du had claimed he should be convicted of manslaughter on the basis of either diminished responsibility or loss of control.

But prosecutors told jurors Du, of Witnell Road, Coventry, was “a man on a mission”. He had been left “angry, humiliated and facing financial ruin” after losing a 10-year legal battle over a Chinese herbal medicine business he and his wife had owned with the Dings. The court heard the loss had left him owing £88,000 in court costs.

On the day of the royal wedding in 2011, he travelled to the Dings’ home armed with a kitchen knife and his passport to exact revenge after leaving a farewell note for his wife at their shop in Birmingham.

He knifed Mr and Mrs Ding multiple times, leaving them for dead in the kitchen, then, with their blood on his hands, he went upstairs and slaughtered their two daughters Alice and Nancy who he found cowering in a bedroom.

Post mortem tests showed that Mr Ding had been stabbed 23 times, Mrs Ding 13 times, Nancy had 11 stab wounds, and Alice had four.