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Bungled 999 call response may have let killer escape for a year; Man guilty of slaughtering family.

Byline: Ben Hurst Head of News

POLICE missed a crucial opportunity to catch a Birmingham businessman who stabbed a family of four to death.

Anxiang Du, 54, was convicted by a jury at Northampton Crown Court of murdering university lecturer Jifeng "Jeff"' Ding, his wife, Ge "Helen" Chui, and their two daughters, Xing "Nancy" 18, and Alice, 12, on April 29, 2011.

Jurors took just over three hours to deliver a unanimous verdict on Du, from Coventry, who owned the Natural Care store in Birmingham's Pavilions shopping centre. It emerged that Du was able to flee the country after police mishandled a 999 call from one of the victims, leading to a manhunt lasting more than a year. Du was on the run for 14 month and the bodies lay undiscovered for two days in a four-bedroom detached house in Pioneer Close, Wootton, Northamptonshire, despite a frantic 999 call being made from Alice Ding's mobile as Du carried out the killings.

Northamptonshire Police have admitted they will "never know what may have happened" if they had responded correctly to the call, made at 3.32pm, in which both girls could be heard screaming before the line went dead. The call was found to have been "badly mishandled" by the force, resulting in officers being sent to the wrong address and the emergency call closed when nothing untoward was found at that location.

An investigation by the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, later said: "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."

Northamptonshire Police have said it was "unlikely" the Ding family could have been saved, but admitted it was possible that Du could have still been at the address if officers had been dispatched to the right location.

During the trial, the jury heard how Du "massacred" his former business partners Mr and Mrs Ding in revenge "We don't know what may have happened after he lost a 10-year legal battle over a Chinese herbal medicine business.

had we responded correctly (to the 999 Du and his wife Can Chen had set up the business with their friends the Dings but civil proceedings commenced after that relationship "turned sour".

call) Chief Inspector Tom Davies Losing the case left Du "angry, humiliated and facing financial ruin" as he owed some PS88,000 in court costs, jurors were told.

On April 29, Du left his home and went to his shop in Birmingham where he picked up a knife and wrote a farewell note to his wife in Mandarin.

The jury heard he took a train from Birmingham New Street station to Northampton where he boarded a bus to where the Ding family lived in Pioneer Close.

He knifed Mr and Mrs Ding multiple times, leaving them for dead in the kitchen, then, with their blood on his hands, he went upstairs and slaughtered their two daughters Alice, 12, and Nancy, 18, who he found cowering in a bedroom.

Post mortem tests showed that Mr Ding had been stabbed 23 times, Mrs Ding 13 times, Nancy had 11 stab wounds, and Alice had four.

Du then made his getaway in the Dings' silver Corsa - driving through the night to London.

The next day he boarded a coach from London Victoria Coach Station to Paris Gallieni. He travelled on through Spain before boarding a ferry from Algeciras to Tangier in Morocco.

He evaded capture for more than a year until his arrest in the city last July.

Moroccan authorities arrested Du on July 7 and negotiations began with the UK to extradite him back.

He was flown back to London in February this year.

Speaking outside court, senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies said: "We've seen justice done.

"This 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.

"We don't know what may have happened had we responded correctly (to the 999 call).

"In life we all make mistakes. It was important for us to realise that, once those mistakes had been made, we then focused on the positives and worked with law enforcement to find him."

Du was due to be sentenced on Thursday, November 28.

We don't know what may have happened had we responded correctly (to the 999 call) Chief Inspector Tom Davies


Convicted: Anxiang Du, 54

Jifeng Ding with his wife Helen and daughters Xing and Alice who were all stabbed to death in their home >
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 28, 2013
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