Car found in Northampton family murder probe

Police investigating the murders of a family of four in Northampton have found a rented Vauxhall Corsa which went missing from their home.

Lecturer Jifeng Ding, his wife Helen and their two daughters Alice, 12, and Xing, 18, were found stabbed to death in Pioneer Close in Wootton on 1 May.

Businessman Anxiang Du, 52, is wanted in connection with their murders.

Police said the car was found in north-west London following a call from a member of the public.

Police said an automatic number plate recognition vehicle check revealed Mr Du was in the car in Northampton about 2215 BST on 29 April.

Murder weapon search

Det Supt Glyn Timmins appealed for anyone who may have seen the car in Northampton on that day between 1600 BST and 2215 BST, or had seen the car since, to contact police.

He said the car, which was hired by Xing, was found in a mixed residential and commercial area in north-west London at 1330 BST on Wednesday.

It had been locked but could have been there for some days.

Image caption CCTV image of Anxiang Du at Birmingham New Street Station

It has been brought back to Northamptonshire police headquarters to be forensically examined, the force said.

Mr Timmins said the discovery of the car reinforced police theories that Mr Du had not killed himself but was still on the run.

He said police had narrowed the time of the murders down to between 1500 BST and 1600 BST.

Police are also still looking for a murder weapon as well as items of Mr Du's clothing which they suspect may be bloodstained.

'Goodbye' letter

The focus of the inquiry is now in London, but Mr Timmins said Mr Du could have travelled anywhere in the country.

CCTV images of Mr Du released last week showed him arriving from Birmingham New Street station at platform four of Northampton's station on 29 April.

Image caption Police have not revealed the exact location where the Vauxhall Corsa was found

He then travelled to Greyfriars bus station where he is believed to have waited in bay 19, eventually getting on the number 15 bus to Wootton Village where he got off.

Mr Timmins previously said that Mr Du had a significant amount of cash at the time of the murders.

Mr Du, who lived in Coventry and worked at a herbal medicine shop in Birmingham, went missing a day after losing what has been described as a bitter court battle over his shared business interests with the Ding family.

He was reported missing by his own family after they discovered a note "saying goodbye" at the shop where he worked.

Det Supt Timmins said police were in regular contact with Mr Du's family as part of the investigation.

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