Suspected killer Anxiang Du was arrested in Morocco five days after the brutal murders of the Ding family, a BBC investigation will claim tonight.
Du remains the only suspect for the brutal murders of Jifeng Ding, his wife Helen, and the pair’s two children, Xing, aged 18, and Alice, aged 12.
He was finally arrested in Morocco in July, this year, and is now awaiting extradition back to the UK.
However, an investigation, to be broadcast on BBC’s Inside Out this evening, will claim he was also arrested in Morocco just five days after the Dings were killed inside their home in Pioneer Close, Simpson Manor, Northampton, on April 29, 2011.
Du was arrested by Moroccan police who suspected he was an illegal immigrant. However, they released him after he fed them lies and because they couldn’t determine his identity.
They had no idea he was wanted by police in Britain.
The Coventry-based businessman was then able to spend 14 months living rough in Morocco, sleeping on a building site, while police in Northamptonshire led a world-wide hunt for him costing more than £1 million.
He was eventually arrested in the port town of Tangier after UK police traced his route out of Britain and launched an appeal in Morocco.
The programme will claim Du was initially arrested in the Moroccan city of Oujda, near the Algerian border, just five days after the murders.
Police Chief Abdallah Bellahfid told the investigation how Du had no identification documents and lied to officials, saying he was from Taiwan.
He also gave them a false name – calling himself Li Ming.
Officers contacted the Chinese embassy but later released him because they couldn’t determine his identity or nationality. At that time British detectives had no idea Mr Du was abroad and hadn’t issued his photo to Interpol.
More than a year later, in a strange coincidence, the same Moroccan police chief interviewed Du again, this time in Tangier.
Abdallah Bellahfid recognised him immediately and this time knew Mr Du was wanted by British detectives
Anxiang Du told the police chief: “I am innocent. I am not the killer.”
The BBC programme will claim Du had been living abroad for more than a year by sleeping rough on a building site in Tangier and surviving on handouts.
Detectives in Morocco revealed how he had been sleeping on a construction site in the Beni Makada suburb of the city, sheltering on the floor of a draughty room in a partly-built block of flats.
He slept on a makeshift bed made of bricks and wooden planks and used a small gas burner to cook his meals. Officers say he worked there as a night watchman.
Fellow workers took pity on him and gave him food parcels.
The programme reveals Anxiang Du was captured when the owner of the building site saw his wanted photo in a local newspaper and called the police.
El Yazaji Adil said: “When I saw his photo I was shocked. I know this face. Oh – he’s the Chinese person with my workers there.
“The people who work for me – they helped him – because you know in Morocco they are hospitable. If people here don’t work – they give them food. You understand? So Morocco is very well known for its hospitality.”
The Moroccan authorities told the BBC’s Inside Out Anxiang Du is currently being held in Sale prison, near the capital Rabat, awaiting extradition to Britain.
Northamptonshire Police were not involved in the programme, which will be shown at 7.30pm tonight.
Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies said: “Following the arrest of Anxiang Du, officers from Northamptonshire Police travelled to Morocco and obtained relevant information from the Moroccan authorities.
“We are continuing to work with them and the Home Office towards the extradition of Mr Du and are hopeful of a positive outcome.
“This case is now in the court process and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further on the nature of any information we have received in this case.”