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British police find suspect after killing of BBC commentator's wife and 2 daughters

Police and emergency services at the scene in Ashlyn Close, Bushey, north of London, on Wednesday.
James Manning
Police and emergency services at the scene in Ashlyn Close, Bushey, north of London, on Wednesday.

LONDON — British police said they found Wednesday the man suspected of killing three women, the wife and daughters of a well-known BBC radio commentator, near London in a brutal crossbow attack.

In a statement, Hertfordshire Police said 26-year-old Kyle Clifford was found in the Enfield area of north London, near his home, and that he is receiving medical treatment for his injuries. Police did not say how those injuries happened but stressed that they had not fired any shots.

The BBC confirmed that the women killed were members of the family of its commentator John Hunt — his 61-year-old wife Carol Hunt and their daughters Hannah, 28, and Louise, 25.

Footage from Sky News showed the suspect being carried on a stretcher out of Lavender Hill Cemetery in Enfield, which is close to his home and around 52 kilometers (17 miles) to the east from the site of the killings. Armed police officers, forensic personnel and ambulance staff had massed around the cemetery through the day.

The public had been urged not to approach Clifford, who the BBC reported had been in the British Army for a brief period of service in 2022.

“Following extensive inquiries, the suspect has been located and nobody else is being sought in connection with the investigation at this time," said Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit.

“This continues to be an incredibly difficult time for the victims’ family and we would ask that their privacy is respected as they come to terms with what has happened," she added.

Jenkins said the investigation is moving “at pace” and that formal identification of the victims is yet to take place. She also said that the “premature” naming of the victims “caused great upset.”

Police had been scouring a park in north London, near the home of Clifford, after being alerted Tuesday about the killings in a house in Bushey, a residential area in northwestern London. Police and ambulance crews tried to save them, but they were pronounced dead at the scene.

John Hunt is the main racing commentator for BBC 5 Live, the corporation’s main news and sports radio channel. His voice is known to millions through his coverage of the world famous Grand National and The Derby.

A colleague of Hunt's and BBC 5 Live's lead presenter Mark Chapman struggled to hold back the tears as he expressed everyone’s shock and pain.

“We have a football match to bring you tonight ... and we will start our buildup to it shortly but this has been a heartbreaking day,” he said as he opened Wednesday's coverage on 5 Live of England's semifinal match against The Netherlands in soccer's European Championship.

“John Hunt is our colleague and our friend, not just to the current 5 Live sport team but to all of those who've worked here with him over the past 20 years, and also to all of you who have enjoyed his superb commentaries," Chapman said. "So on behalf of everyone connected to 5 Live Sport, our love and thoughts and support are with John and his family.”

The Daily Mail newspaper and others reported that Hunt found the bodies early Tuesday evening, after returning home from reporting at Lingfield Park racecourse south of London.

Police did not say how or whether Clifford was connected to the women, but British media had reported that he was an ex-boyfriend of one of the daughters.

Chief Superintendent Jon Simpson suggested the attack was not random and that the suspect knew the family.

Local council member Laurence Brass, who lives nearby, described the area as “a typical leafy British suburb” as he recounted his experience from the previous night.

“At about eight o’clock last night, I was watching the football on television, and suddenly a helicopter landed in the lawn outside my flat, which is at the top of this road, and then my phone started going, and I was told that there was a major incident here in Bushey and we should all keep away because there was somebody apparently on the run,” he told the BBC.

Britain’s new home secretary, Yvette Cooper, was kept “fully informed” about the “truly shocking” incident.

People in Britain do not need a license to own a crossbow, but it is illegal to carry one in public without a reasonable excuse.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said Cooper will “swiftly consider” the findings from a recently launched review into whether further controls on crossbows should be introduced.

Copyright 2024 NPR

The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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