A businessman who “massacred” a family of four has finally been brought to justice after police mistakes allowed him to go on the run for more than a year.
Anxiang Du, 54, stabbed lecturer Jifeng “Jeff” Ding, his wife Ge “Helen” Chui, and their two daughters, Xing “Nancy” 18, and Alice, 12, to death on 29 April, 2011, in a revenge attack after losing a ten-year legal battle.
Yesterday a jury took just over three hours to unanimously convict him of four counts of murder after a two-week trial.
Du had denied the murders.
The four bodies were not discovered at the Dings’ home in Wootton, Northamptonshire, until two days after the murders.
An inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found Northamptonshire Police mishandled a 999 call, resulting in officers being sent to the wrong address and the call being closed prematurely.
Police only discovered the bodies on 1 May, after a neighbour reported seeing a body laid on the floor through a window.
Members of the jury heard a recording of the 999 call, made from Alice Ding’s mobile phone at 3:32pm on the day of the killings, during the trial at Northampton Crown Court. The screams of both girls could be heard before the line went dead.
The IPCC investigation concluded: “Had police used more detailed checks and a mapping system available to them, the need for a subscriber check would have been established; the correct address in Pioneer Close would have been identified and in all likelihood attended by officers within minutes.”
It has also emerged that officers missed the bodies after they were sent to the Dings’ address on the morning of 1 May – just hours before the neighbour reported his grim find.
Du had left the UK for France less than 24 hours after carrying out the murders. From Paris, he travelled to Spain, where he caught the ferry to Morocco.
An international manhunt was launched by police after the discovery of the bodies and Du was arrested in Tangier last July – after 14 months on the run.
Du had claimed he should be convicted of manslaughter on the basis of either diminished responsibility or loss of control.
During the trial, prosecutors told jurors Du, of Witnell Road, Coventry, was “a man on a mission” on the day of the killings.
He had been left “angry, humiliated and facing financial ruin” after losing a ten-year legal battle over a Chinese herbal medicine business he and his wife had owned with the Dings. The loss had left him owing £88,000 in court costs.
Prosecutor William Harbage QC told the jury an injunction served on Du the night before, preventing him from dissipating his assets, had been the “catalyst” for the murders.
Du made a plan and “carried it out with ruthless efficiency”, Mr Harbage told the court.
On the day of the royal wedding in 2011, Du travelled to the Dings’ home armed with a kitchen knife and passport after leaving a farewell note for his wife at their Birmingham shop. He stabbed Mr and Mrs Ding multiple times, leaving them for dead in the kitchen, then went upstairs and killed Alice and Nancy.
Judge Mr Justice Flaux said sentence would be passed today.
Addressing members of the Ding family, he said: “I know nothing I can say can assuage the pain of the deaths of your sister and daughter but I just hope at least the fact that the man responsible for the deaths has been brought to justice will provide you with some comfort.”