Ding family murders suspect Anxiang Du 'slept rough'

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Media captionPolice in Morocco had no way of identifying Mr Du when he was initially arrested

A BBC investigation has found that a man arrested over the murder of a Northampton family had been sleeping rough in Morocco for more than a year.

Jifeng Ding, his wife Helen, and their two daughters 18-year-old Xing and Alice, 12, were all stabbed to death at their home in April 2011.

Police believe Anxiang Du, who lived in Coventry and ran a Chinese medicine shop in Birmingham, may have committed the murders on the day of the Royal wedding last year.

The BBC Inside Out programme also reveals Moroccan Police arrested Mr Du just five days after the murders in the belief he was an illegal immigrant but he was later released because they could not determine his identity and had no idea he was wanted by police in Britain.

Mr Du spent 14 months in Morocco before being arrested by police in Tangier in July.

During that time he was top of Crimestoppers' Most Wanted list.

Makeshift bed

The BBC Inside Out programme travelled to Tangier to interview the officers who made the arrest.

Image caption Anxiang Du slept on a building site and survived on handouts from fellow workers

They revealed Mr Du spent around a year sleeping rough on a construction site in the Beni Makada suburb of the city, sheltering on the floor of a draughty room in a partly-built block of flats.

He slept on a makeshift bed made of bricks and wooden planks and used a small gas burner to cook his meals.

Officers said he worked there as a night watchman. Fellow workers took pity on him and gave him food parcels.

The programme reveals Mr Du was apprehended when the owner of the building site saw his "wanted" photo in a local newspaper and called the police.

Mr Du was initially arrested by police in the Moroccan city of Oujda, near the Algerian border, in early May.

Police Chief Abdallah Bellahfid said Mr Du had no identification documents, claimed he was from Taiwan and gave a false name - calling himself Li Ming.

Officers contacted the Chinese embassy but later released him because they could not determine his identity or nationality.

'I am innocent'

At that time British detectives had no idea Mr Du was abroad and had not issued his photo to Interpol.

Image caption The family were found at their home in Wootton, Northampton, two days after they were stabbed

More than a year later, in a strange coincidence, the same Moroccan police chief interviewed Mr Du again, this time in Tangier.

Abdallah Bellahfid recognised him immediately and this time knew Mr Du was wanted by detectives in the UK.

Mr Du told the police chief: "I am innocent. I am not the killer."

The Moroccan authorities told BBC Inside Out that Anxiang Du was currently being held in Sale prison, near the capital Rabat, awaiting extradition to the UK.

Northamptonshire Police have said they will not comment now that Mr Du is in custody.

The BBC Inside Out investigation was broadcast in the East and West Midlands and is now available to all regions on the iplayer.

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