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Anxiang DU





Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Out of a "desire for revenge" after losing a prolonged court battle against them
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: April 29, 2011
Date of arrest: July 7, 2012 (in Morocco)
Date of birth: 1958
Victims profile: Professor Jifeng "Jeff" Ding, 46, his wife Helen Chui, 47, and their two daughters Xing, 18 and Alice, 12
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Wootton, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 40 years on November 28, 2013
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2011 murder of the Ding family

The 2011 murder of the Ding family occurred in Wootton, a suburb of Northampton, England, in late April. Four members of the Ding family—Professor Jifeng "Jeff" Ding, his wife Helen Chui and their daughters Xing and Alice—were found murdered at their home in Wootton at 6:00 pm on Sunday, 1 May 2011.

They were thought to have been murdered two days earlier between about 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Friday, 29 April 2011—the day of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and an additional Public Holiday in the United Kingdom.

Northamptonshire Police named Anxiang Du, a businessman from Coventry who had been involved in a legal dispute with the Ding family, as the prime suspect in the case. Du fled the murder scene in the Ding's rented car; he drove to London and travelled to Paris by coach. He continued through France, Spain and finally to Morocco, prompting a worldwide manhunt. He lived in a partly built block of flats for 14 months before he was arrested and extradited to the UK.

Du was tried at Northampton Crown Court in November 2013. He was found guilty of the murders and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 40 years.


The Ding family were of Chinese descent: Professor Jifeng "Jeff" Ding, his wife Helen Chui and their two daughters Xing (aged 18) and Alice (aged 12). Alice and Xing were talented musicians. They were all stabbed to death at their home in Pioneer Close, part of the re-developed Royal Pioneer Corps' Simpson Barracks in Wootton, a modern suburb of Northampton just over 2 miles (3.2 km) south of the town centre.

Anxiang Du was a businessman who had run a Chinese herbal remedy shop in Birmingham with the Dings. Since 1999, he and his wife had been engaged in a ten-year legal dispute with the Dings after their partnership failed. He faced a legal bill of around £88,000 after losing his final appeals. On 28 April 2011, Du was served with a court order preventing him from disposing of his assets.


At 10:44 am on 29 April 2011, Anxiang Du boarded a train from Coventry to Birmingham, carrying a knife and his passport, after leaving his family a farewell note. He boarded another train in Birmingham and travelled to Northampton. From Northampton town centre, Du travelled by bus to Wootton, arriving there at around 1:35 pm Du killed the Ding family at around 3:30 pm.

The murders took place two hours later at the Ding's house in Pioneer Close, Wootton Fields. Du stabbed Jeff and Helen Ding to death in their kitchen before going upstairs to find the two girls, Xing and Alice, in a bedroom.

Du stabbed Jeff 23 times, Helen 13 times, Xing 11 times and Alice four times. During the attacks a 999 call, during which the screams of both girls could be heard, was made from Alice Ding's mobile telephone at 3:32 pm. The call was mishandled by Northamptonshire Police, which sent officers to a different address. The call was considered closed when nothing was found there.

Du stole the family's car; at 09:43 pm that evening he stopped at Junction 15a on the M1 motorway where he bought a map of Northamptonshire. He tried to call upon another former business partner who lived in the county, but he was not at home. From there, Du drove to London. As the car entered the capital, automatic number plate recognition cameras failed to detect the car as it entered the capital. He abandoned the Ding's car in St. John's Wood, where it remained for eleven days and accrued nine parking tickets.

On 30 April, Du bought a one-way coach ticket to Paris using his own passport. Sometime that day, his wife reported him missing. On 1 May at 8:00 am, police called at the Ding's house looking for Du, but left when nobody answered the door. The Dings' bodies were discovered by a neighbour later that day.

Du travelled through France and Spain, and took a ferry from Algeciras to Tangier in Morocco. He travelled onwards to Oujda near the border with Algeria, where he was arrested as a suspected illegal immigrant. Moroccan police released him because they could not determine his identity and were unaware that he was wanted in the UK.

Du remained in Morocco for as further 14 months; in mid-2012, Northamptonshire Police announced they believed he was in that country. A photograph of Du was printed in a local newspaper and a construction worker recognised him. A man believed to be Du was found living in a partly built block of flats where he slept on a makeshift bed and cooked food on a small gas-powered stove. He was arrested on 7 July 2012.

Police officers visited Madrid and believe their inquiries there "played a significant part in the suspect's apprehension". Officers made a formal application for extradition with the Home Office, although there was no formal extradition arrangement with Morocco.

On 10 July 2012, it was confirmed that the arrested man was chief suspect Anxiang Du. On 19 July 2012, a 54-year-old woman in Coventry, a woman aged 39 in Gloucester, a 22-year-old woman in Southend and a man aged 25 in London were arrested. They were all held on suspicion of conspiracy to assist an offender and were bailed until a later date.

Extradition and trial

On 20 February 2013, Anxiang Du was extradited to the UK with the approval of the Moroccan Ministry of Justice working with the British Home Office. Du appeared in the Magistrates' court at Northampton on 21 February 2013 and was charged with the murders of the Ding family. He was remanded in custody and appeared at Northampton Crown Court the following day. A provisional trial date was set for 5 August 2013 and was expected to last 10 days.

Du was next due to appear in Northampton Crown Court on 7 May 2013 for a plea and case management hearing. This was moved to Nottingham on 10 May 2013. It was later reported that the trial date could be preponed to 29 July 2013 following information on the availability of experts. However, when Du made his plea and case management hearing on 10 May 2013, a Mandarin interpreter failed to arrive at the court. The plea and case management hearing were then re-set for July with a trial due to begin on 12 November 2013.

On 18 July 2013 Du appeared at Northampton Crown Court but only spoke to confirm his name. No plea could be heard at the hearing as tests were still being conducted. He was expected to appear before the court again on October 17 to enter a plea but this was postponed until 4 November when Du denied four counts of murder.

The trial started on 12 November 2013. The jury was sent out to consider their verdict on 26 November and returned to court around midday on 27 November finding Du guilty of the murder of the four members of the Ding family. On 28 November Du was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 40 years.


Anxiang Du jailed for at least 40 years for murdering Northampton family

Judge tells businessman he may die in prison as he is sentenced for killing couple and their daughters

By Laura Dixon -

Thursday 28 November 2013

A man who killed a family of four out of a "desire for revenge" after losing a prolonged court battle against them could spend the rest of his life in jail.

Anxiang Du, who murdered his former business partners and their two school-age children, was sentenced this lunchtime to life with a minimum term of 40 years.

Sentencing Du, who is 54, at Northampton crown court, Mr Justice Flaux told him that he had "borne in mind" the fact that a tariff of 30 years or more would "mean that you will grow old, if not die, in prison".

However, he said that the brutality of the case was such that the sentence was justified.

"What is clear from the evidence and the verdicts is that these were cold-blooded murders which in my view were pre-meditated."

He said the attack, on 29 April 2011, had "wiped out an entire family", targeting not just Jeff and Helen Ding, with whom he had set up a Chinese medicine business, but also their daughters Nancy, who was 18 and hoped to become a doctor, and her sister Alice, who was 12.

He said the jury, who delivered their verdict on Wednesday, had rejected Du's defence that he should be sentenced to manslaughter on the grounds of loss of control or diminished responsibility, adding: "I'm quite satisfied that it was hatred, anger and your desire for revenge that motivated you to act as you did on the 29 April, not the moderate depression you suffered."

He said Du, a practitioner of Chinese medicine, had launched a "frenzied attack" on Jeff Ding, killing him with a "savage butchery".

"You did not lose your self control on killing Jeff Ding. In effect you executed the man you hated," he told Du.

He said he had shown a similar callousness when he killed Ding's wife, Helen, and their two daughters, before fleeing England to escape justice.

In mitigation, Rebecca Trowler QC had argued that Du had been depressed at the time of the attack, and had suffered from a "long period of stress as a result of the civil litigation" between him and the Dings, which had dragged on for 10 years.

She also said that Du – who sat in court in a blue shirt and grey suit, his head bowed as it had been through the trial – had expressed remorse for what he had done.

"Mr Du has asked to express his remorse through me this afternoon," she said.

However, Flaux said he was unconvinced of Du's remorse for what he had done. He said the lives of the family had been "senselessly cut short".

Speaking of the loss to the family, he said: "I have read the very moving victim impact statements. In a very real sense you have destroyed their lives as well."

He said his sentence also reflected the fact that two of the victims had been "particularly vulnerable because of their age".

The family of Helen Ding, who have travelled from China to be at the trial, said they were happy with the sentence. On Wednesday they said that they felt justice had been served.



Anxiang Du found guilty of murdering family of four

Jury rejects lesser charges of manslaughter over deaths of Jifeng Ding, Ge Chui and their two daughters in April 2011

By Laura Dixon -

Wednesday 27 November 2013

A businessman who killed his former colleagues and their two school-age children after losing a lengthy and "acrimonious" legal battle has been found guilty of their murder.

Anxiang Du, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, was found guilty at Northampton crown court of killing Jifeng "Jeff" Ding, a university lecturer, his teacher wife, Ge, who was known as Helen, and their two daughters, Xing, known as Nancy, and Alice, stabbing them to death in their home on the day of the royal wedding.

Du went on the run after the killings and was not found until the summer of 2012, living semi-rough on a building site in Morocco. The search for him was one of the biggest manhunts in Northamptonshire police's history, with more than 240 police officers deployed to try to track him down during the course of the investigation.

Du, 54, had not denied killing the family, but his defence team had argued that a 10-year court battle with his former friends over a shared business venture had left him suffering from depression so severe it altered his judgment. His lawyers had argued he should have been found guilty not of murder, but of manslaughter on the grounds of loss of control or diminished responsibility.

The prosecution rejected this claim, saying while Du may have had depression, the murders were a "cold-blooded" and "considered act of revenge". The jury of eight women and four men took just over three hours to find him guilty of murder on all four counts.

William Harbage QC, for the prosecution, had told them that Du had come up with the plan after his legal appeals had reached the end of the road. The night before the killings, he had been served with an emergency injunction that prevented him from disposing of any of his assets.

Facing "financial ruin", and an £88,000 bill for costs, he packed his passport and a knife before travelling to Northampton with the family's address written on a piece of paper. He left his wife a goodbye note in their shop in Birmingham that read "everyone has to say farewell one day".

CCTV evidence during the trial – played to a silent courtroom – showed Du casually ambling around the bus station as he sought out the Ding's family home in the hours before they died, the knife hidden in his backpack. When he got there, he would later say in interviews, he entered through the back of the house, and asked Jeff Ding for the money he felt he was owed before pulling the knife from his bag.

He killed Jeff and Helen in the kitchen, and then went upstairs and attacked the two girls after finding them, in the words of Harbage, "cowering in a bedroom". Postmortems showed all the family had suffered multiple stab wounds, with those to the chest proving fatal. Ding and his eldest daughter had suffered self-defence wounds as they tried to fight him off.

Afterwards, Du later admitted, he slept for a while, before stealing the family car to try to hunt down a friend of the Dings who had helped fund their legal battle.

While at first officers thought they may be dealing with a murder-suicide, and focused their search on London, Manchester and the Midlands, it later became clear Du had fled the country, turning a quadruple murder case into an international manhunt.

Initial searches for Du at airports and on Eurostar services had drawn a blank, but police later established that he had driven to London and abandoned the car on a residential street. By 8am on 30 April, the day after the killings, he was on a coach to Paris, and soon after travelled undetected through Spain to the ferry port at Algeciras.

It was a neighbour who found their bodies of the Ding parents, hidden behind a blue velvet curtain in the room that backed on to the garden, on Sunday evening, more than 48 hours after the family had been murdered.

Du was later found after someone from the building site spotted his photograph in a newspaper.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies, who led the investigation, said Du had successfully evaded detection for months. "That's why I say he was a man with a plan. He did not hit any radar," he said, adding that it had been "one of the biggest and worst cases, in terms of the loss of life, the nature of the killings and the number of challenges" police faced throughout the investigation.

The judge, Mr Justice Flaux, said after the verdict: "Anxiang Du, you have been found guilty of four counts of murder. No doubt your counsel will explain to you there is only one sentence I can pass for this."

He paid also tribute to members of Helen Ding's family who had travelled from China to be in Northampton for the case. "I have observed the dignified way in which you have conducted yourselves throughout this trial, which must have been truly horrendous for you in a way that the rest of us cannot understand.

"I know nothing I can say will assuage the pain of the deaths of your sister, daughter and family. I just hope that at least the fact the man responsible for their deaths has been brought to justice will provide you with some closure over these terrible events."

He is expected to sentence Du on Thursday.

Zuyao Cui, Helen's father, had sat at the back of the court room every day of the trial, listening to proceedings through a translator. He said his daughter had been "a good mother, a good wife and she taught the two girls very well", and said hearing the evidence in court had been "like a knife to the body".

"When the two families heard about this it was like the whole sky has fallen down," he said. "We all cried together."

Asked what he would say to the man who killed four members of his family, he said: "I would ask Du why you did what you have done? How can you be so cruel?"

Steve Chappell, the chief prosecutor for the CPS in the east Midlands, said: "This was a brutal, shocking crime. Anxiang Du travelled to the Dings' home armed with a knife and killed the whole family in their own home. The evidence was clear that this was an act of pre-meditated revenge and Du knew what he was doing.

"The Ding family were honest, hard-working and well-liked people. It is a tragedy that their lives were cut short in this way. Our thoughts and condolences are with their family and friends."



Chinese businessman 'slaughtered couple and their daughters, 18, and 12, with kitchen knife in ruthlessly efficient revenge attack sparked by legal dispute'

  • Anxiang Du 'killed Jifeng Ding, Ge Chui and their children Xing and Alice'

  • Du 'armed himself with a kitchen knife and stabbed family to death in 2011'

  • He 'found couple's daughters cowering in bedroom before stabbing them'

By Andy Dolan -

November 12, 2013

A businessman massacred a family of four in their home in revenge at losing a seven-year legal dispute, a court heard yesterday.

With ‘ruthless efficiency’, Anxiang Du repeatedly stabbed university lecturer Jifeng ‘Jeff’ Ding, 46, and his wife Helen, 47, in their kitchen, before moving upstairs where daughters Nancy, 18, and Alice, 12, were cowering in a bedroom.

The Dings had been former business partners with Chinese compatriot Du and his wife, but their relationship had soured, triggering a decade of legal action.

Du had travelled to the £350,000 property like ‘a man on a mission’, armed with a kitchen knife and out for revenge on a couple who had left him with court costs totalling £88,000, the jury heard.

The bloodbath unfolded on the day of the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011.

The family were stabbed a total of 51 times.

A 999 call was made from Alice’s mobile phone that afternoon.

Prosecutor William Harbage QC warned the jury they would have to listen to the ‘distressing’ 20-second call, in which ‘more than one female scream could be heard’.

The court heard the catalyst for the horror was an injunction which had been served on Du, 54, the night before, preventing him from disposing of his assets. Mr Harbage said Du knew he ‘faced ruin’.

He added: ‘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.’

Mr Harbage said Du and his wife Can Chen, both herbal medicine practitioners, had run a string of successful shops with the Dings until the relationship soured in 2001.

Du and his wife were dismissed from the business and in 2004 started legal proceedings against the ‘hard-working, decent’ Dings.

Seven years of civil litigation followed. Mr Harbage said that ‘although Du won the first battle, he lost the last’, and was left with the five-figure costs sum to pay.

Mr Ding, who lectured in polymer science at Manchester Metropolitan University, was stabbed 23 times, while his wife, a translator, was knifed 13 times.

Their daughters – both talented violinists who toured Europe with the Northamptonshire Youth Orchestra – were stabbed a total of 15 times. Alice was found on the bed and Nancy was in a ‘prayer position’ on the bedroom floor.

All four had been stabbed through the heart and lungs at the property in Wootton, Northampton. The jury heard Du’s fingerprints and other forensic evidence littered the bloody scene.

Following the massacre, Du washed the knife and left it in the Dings’ sink before escaping in their car.

The Dings’ bodies were discovered two days later. Du’s getaway car was found abandoned in London in May.

He travelled by coach – under his own name and passport – to Paris, from there travelling to Spain where he took a boat to Morocco.

He was arrested there in July 2012 and extradited back to the UK earlier this year.

The jury at Northampton Crown Court were told that Du, from Coventry, denies murder but does not deny that he carried out the attack.

He is expected to claim that he should be found guilty of manslaughter on the basis of either diminished responsibility or loss of control.

But Mr Harbage said the premeditated, ‘grotesque killings’ were the ‘clearest case of murder, with the obvious motive of revenge’.

He told jurors: ‘This was a considered act of revenge executed in an unbelievably calm and cold-blooded manner.

'He (Du) planned to kill, he intended to kill, he did kill – four times. This is murder, nothing less.’ The case continues.



Hunt for killer Anxiang Du: Timeline

November 27, 2013

Businessman Anxiang Du has been convicted of four counts of murder after stabbing to death a family in revenge for losing a 10-year court battle. The jury took just over three hours to unanimously convict him following a two-week trial at Northampton Crown Court. Du had denied the murders.

29 April 2011

10:44 Anxiang Du takes a train from Coventry to Birmingham. He leaves a farewell letter to his family then catches a train to Northampton.

12:35 Du arrives in Northampton and walks to the bus station, where he catches the Number 14 to Wootton.

13:35 Du speaks to the driver and is pointed in the direction of the Wootton Fields estate.

15:32 The Ding family are killed at their home. The Dings' daughters Alice and Xing are heard screaming in a 999 call. Police trace it to a neighbouring estate and fail to investigate further. The Independent Police Complaints Commission will later say the call was "mishandled".

21:43 Having stolen the Dings' Vauxhall Corsa, Du stops at services on J15a of the M1 at Northampton and buys a map of Northamptonshire and a banana milkshake. He tries to find a former business associate, Paul Delaney, but he is not at home.

30 April 2011

Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras fail to detect the Dings' Corsa as it enters London. This later hampers the police investigation.

Du leaves the Corsa in Venables Street, St John's Wood. It would remain there for another 11 days, amassing nine parking tickets, despite appeals from police.

07:07 Du buys a one-way coach ticket to Paris with £61 cash and his own passport.

At some point on 30 April, Du's wife reports him as missing.

1 May 2011

08:00 Police call at the house about Du being missing, but leave after getting no response. They are unaware four bodies lay inside.

18:15 A neighbour discovers the bodies and calls police.

4 May 2011

Du is named as the chief suspect by Northamptonshire Police, who believe he is "off the radar" and could be anywhere in the UK.

Meanwhile, he is arrested by Moroccan police on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. He is released after giving false details.

7 July 2012

A building site worker in Tangier, Morocco, recognises a photograph of Du in a newspaper as the dishevelled man working as a night watchman.

Du, the UK's most wanted man, is arrested.



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