Officers investigating the murder of the Ding family in Northampton last year believe prime suspect Anxiang Du fled to Morocco just days after the incident.
With Northamptonshire Police believing Du, 53, to have been in Morocco ever since, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies addressed the media over there today and launched a television appeal in the country.
He is hopeful that increased exposure will lead to an arrest, more than 14 months after the murders of Helen Chui, Jifeng Ding and their daughters Xing and Alice on the day of the Royal Wedding last year at their home in Pioneer Close, Simpson Manor.
It has emerged that Du boarded a bus at London’s Victoria station shortly after the family were found dead and travelled to Paris and through France and Spain, before catching a ferry from the port of Algeciras to Tangier in Morocco.
The journey is believed to have taken only a few days, with Du evading capture in Morocco ever since.
DCI Davies said: “He knew the route, he had a plan and he used that three or four day window after the murders to leave the country.
“We have focused on that period and the transport links in and out of London. It was painstaking work but after looking through all the departures we know he left on a bus from London Victoria to Paris.
“From there he used buses or trains to get to Alegeciras where he boarded a ferry to Tangier. Whether he is still in Tangier or not we don’t know but we are hoping this latest appeal will help us in that respect.
“We have had some excellent coverage from today’s press conference. It has gone out on national television across Morocco and Spain and the press are fully aware of it. It has had a good response.
“We are coming up to a busy time on the ferries between the two countries and we are able to target a wide group of people. Hopefully someone will recognise him. Even if it was six months ago they saw him, it is a new lead and every new lead takes us that one step closer to finding him.”
Du has a background in herbal medicine and police are investigating the possibility he has used that to earn a living while on the run.
The 53-year-old is known to have been carrying several thousand pounds in cash when he left the UK but that money will now have run out and police are keen to know how he is surviving financially.
DCI Davies said: “We are looking at a number of things. Is somebody looking after him financially? Has somebody given him some low-skilled work? Has he set up a herbal rememdy business of his own? Has someone given him somewhere to stay? Or is he the sort of person who is living in isolation and nobody is noticing?
“What we do know is that he is a fugitive trying to use international borders to escape justice and we are not going to stand by and let that happen.
“We are due a bit of luck in this investigation but we are not going to sit back and wait for that luck, we’re going out there and we’re trying to force it. It is a sizeable challenge but it is one we are undertaking with some vigour.”
Police from Northamptonshire, who are due to return to the UK on Friday afternoon, have issued posters and leaflets to officers out in Morocco and are hoping that someone will recognise Du in a country with no Chinese community of note.
DCI Davies added: “What we are saying to the people of Morocco is ‘over to you’. We have put out his picture and we want to know if they recognise him.
“It is our biggest breakthrough so far and we hope this can lead to a positive outcome.”