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FAMILY OF FOUR IN KNIFE SLAUGHTER; Lecturer, wife and girls of 11 and 18 killed at home.

Byline: MATT ROPER

A MUM, dad and their two girls have been knifed to death at home in an affluent village.

The bodies of the two parents - 46-yearold university lecturer Jifeng Ding, known as Jeff, and teacher Helen Chui, 47 - were discovered downstairs by police.

Their children Nancy, 18, and Alice, 11, were found upstairs.

Detectives yesterday revealed all four members of the family, of Chinese origin, had suffered multiple stab wounds.

A major murder inquiry involving more than 30 officers has now been launched.

Forensics teams are expected to remain at the large detached property for up to a week as they try to gather clues.

DIFFICULTIES

Shocked neighbour Andrew Dixon said: "I knew them as Jeff and Helen. Jeff was a quiet and well-to-do man.

"This area is very middle England - you don't expect to hear such tragic news happening in your own street."

Neighbour Viju Shah added: "I knew them to say hello to. I used to see them when I was out walking.

"They seemed like a really good family without any problems and had no difficulties in their lives. It's hard to believe they are dead."

The area surrounding the property at Simpson Manor, near Wootton, Northampton, remained sealed off yesterday as officers carried out a search of the road. The bodies were found on Sunday evening. Mr Ding was a senior lecturer in the division of chemical and environmental science at Manchester Metropolitan University.

He was popular at university and had a Facebook page called The Jeff Ding Appreciation Group, where students hailed him as the "best lecturer ever".

Both children are understood to have attended schools in Northampton.

Alice was a year 7 pupil at Caroline Chisholm School while her sister was said to be a sixth former at the private Northampton School for Girls.

Mrs Ding is understood to have been a teacher at the same school Alice attended, where she is believed to have taught Mandarin. A large group of tearful teenage girls were too distraught to comment as they arrived at the scene with floral tributes yesterday.

Det Supt Glyn Timmins, of Northamptonshire police, said: "What we can say is the family have died as a result of violence inflicted upon them."

HUNT

He denied speculation by locals that a murder-suicide had occurred.

Det Supt Timmins said: "The injuries that we have seen so far are knife injuries, though an exact cause of death is yet to be established.

"At this moment in time the motive behind the deaths does not appear to be due to burglary or robbery. Local officers are conducting house to house inquiries and are liaising with residents and local people to offer reassurance and advice over any safety concerns.

"We do not believe there is any risk to the wider public."

A 12-year-old classmate of Alice yesterday praised the schoolgirl. She said: "Alice loved music, she was very good at the violin.

"She was clever and would often get As in class, and she got along with everyone. She was just a really nice person."

Police said they are keen to track down a Fiat 500 car driven by Nancy, which is understood to be being repaired in an unknown garage in Northampton.

CAPTION(S):

TRAGEDY Alice's body was found upstairs in her house TAPED-OFF Officer guards the street in quiet village of Wootton yesterday SAD SCENE Cop lays flowers yesterday SMILE Alice, 11, was popular at her school
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 3, 2011
Words:574
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