Murder suspect had lost court battle

A businessman suspected of murdering a family of four travelled to the victims' home just a day after losing a bitter court battle over their shared business interests, it emerged today.

Northamptonshire Police said Anxiang Du, who has still not been traced, was now known to have caught a train from Birmingham to Northampton last Friday, when the family are thought to have been stabbed to death.



Mr Du, 52, was named as a suspect yesterday by detectives investigating the murders of university lecturer Jifeng Ding, his wife Helen and their two daughters.



Releasing CCTV images showing Mr Du at both Birmingham New Street and Northampton railway stations, Detective Superintendent Glyn Timmins confirmed that the businessman felt he was owed tens of thousands of pounds by Mrs Ding.



Addressing a press conference, Mr Timmins said officers had also established that Mr Du caught a bus from Northampton to Wootton, where the Ding family lived.





Explaining the links between the suspect and the victims, Mr Timmins said the business relationship between Mr Du and Mrs Ding was being explored as the "primary motive" for the killings.



The detective added: "Clearly there was a dispute over a considerable amount of money related to a business that ended up in the civil courts.



"I think there was a suit and a counter-suit and at some stage I believe that the judgment went against Mr Du, or at least he hadn't received the money that felt he was due.



"That is the motivation that we are exploring."



Mr Timmins, who confirmed that the final court activity was thought to have taken place last Thursday, said Mr Du, who was carrying a yellow Adidas rucksack, was seen at New Street station at 11.22am on the day of the royal wedding.



Further footage showed that he was in Northampton by 12.35pm and the family, whose bodies were found in separate rooms, are believed to have been killed later that afternoon.



After Mr Du caught a bus to Wootton, his movements are unknown and police are examining whether the Corsa was driven away from the Northampton area.



Mr Du, who lived in Coventry and worked in Birmingham, was reported missing by his family on Friday after they discovered a suicide note at the shop where he worked.



Dr Ding, who worked at Manchester Metropolitan University, his wife, a part-time teacher, and their daughters all died from stab wounds.



They were found dead at their detached home in Pioneer Close, Wootton, on Sunday and police later established that a Vauxhall Corsa hired by one of the victims was missing from the address.



The car has not been traced and officers admit that they are puzzled that it has not been seen since or triggered cameras on the road network which record number plates.



Chinese-born Mr Du is described as being of slim build and routinely wears a baseball cap.



Members of the public are being advised not approach Mr Du and anyone who spots him or the silver five-door Corsa, which has the registration BG60 PMO, is urged to call 999.







The scene of the murders remains cordoned off and police, who have yet to find the murder weapon, were still searching nearby drains.



In excess of 60 officers are now working on the investigation, although that number is likely to increase as the inquiry widens, Mr Timmins said.









The detective added: "We do not believe that these murders were gang-related and are working on the assumption that the motive relates to business associations and a financial dispute.



"We believe that Mr Du could be anywhere in the country, and at this stage there is nothing to indicate that he may have left the country or indeed that he even has his passport with him."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick