Northampton

Anxiang Du guilty of murder of Northampton family of four

A businessman has been convicted of murdering a family of four in a revenge attack after he lost a legal case against them.

Jifeng "Jeff" Ding, his wife, Ge "Helen" Chui, and daughters Xing, 18, and Alice, 12, were stabbed to death in Wootton, Northants, in April 2011.

Anxiang Du had denied four counts of murder but admitted killing the family.

Northampton Crown Court heard he was facing a bill of £88,000 after losing a 10-year legal battle with the couple.

Du had claimed that all four deaths were manslaughter, due to loss of control or diminished responsibility.

'Man on mission'

The court heard the family were "massacred" by him on 29 April 2011 - the day of the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The jury was told he was a "man on a mission", travelling by train from his home in Coventry and leaving a farewell note for his wife at their shop in Birmingham, before continuing to Northampton to ask Mr Ding for money.

When the Manchester Metropolitan University lecturer refused, Du stabbed him 23 times, his wife 13 times, Xing 11 times, and Alice four times.

Image caption The Dings were not found until 1 May
Image caption The Dings were talented, friendly and had "so much to live for", their friends said
Image caption The bodies were found in Pioneer Close, Wootton, Northants

Prosecutor William Harbage QC said he "resorted to violence, to murder in order to avenge himself of the people who had caused him such grief".

"He did so not just by killing them - Mr and Mrs Ding - but also by murdering their wholly innocent daughters.

"Mr Du made a plan and carried it out with ruthless efficiency."

Du and his wife Can Chen had set up the business with the Dings but civil proceedings commenced after that relationship "turned sour", the jury was told.

Losing the case left Du "angry, humiliated and facing financial ruin", prosecutors said.

The court heard an injunction delivered to his home in Coventry on the evening of 28 April, acted as the "catalyst" for the events that unfolded the next day.

'Sky fallen down'

During the trial, jurors wiped tears from their eyes as a recording of a frantic 999 call made from Alice Ding's mobile phone on the day of the killings was played in court.

The screams of both girls could be heard on the call, made at 15:32 BST, before the line went dead.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found Northamptonshire Police had mishandled the 999 call, resulting in officers being sent to the wrong address and the call being closed prematurely.

As a result, the Dings' bodies were not discovered until 1 May, two days after they were murdered.

However, the investigation concluded nothing could have changed the outcome.

After killing the family, Du slept in the house, before stealing their car and heading to London, where he got a coach to Paris.

He remained on the run for 14 months until he was captured in Morocco in July 2012.

Du sat in the dock with his head bowed as the verdicts were delivered.

'Heinous crime'

Mr Justice Flaux adjourned sentence until Thursday and praised the Dings' relatives for the dignified way they had conducted themselves throughout the trial.

After the verdicts, Mrs Ding's father Zuyao Cui said hearing the evidence in court had been "just like a knife to the body".

"When the two families heard about this, it was like the whole sky had fallen down on them.

"We all cried together."

Outside court, Det Ch Insp Tom Davies said it was "a heinous crime, committed by a man who knew what he was doing and went with a plan to kill an entire family in cold blood".

"The outcome today is a welcome relief for the family and friends of the Dings, who can now rest in the knowledge that the man responsible for the murders will likely face the rest of his life in prison."

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