U.K. Mulls Tighter Crossbow Laws After Three Women Are Slain in an Attack

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LONDON — A man suspected of killing the wife and daughters of a BBC radio sports commentator with a crossbow was being treated in a hospital Thursday after being found injured in a cemetery some 15 miles (22 kilometers) from the scene of the crimes.

Police had spent almost a day hunting for Kyle Clifford after the attack on Carol Hunt, 61, and her daughters Hannah, 28 and Louise, 25 at their home in Bushey, northwest of London. Police and ambulance crews called to the suburban cul-de-sac on Tuesday evening tried to save them, but they were pronounced dead at the scene.

After a frantic search across a swath of London’s northern fringe, Clifford, 26, was found Wednesday in the Enfield area of north London, near his home.

Footage from Sky News showed the suspect being carried on a stretcher out of Lavender Hill Cemetery. Armed police officers, forensic personnel and ambulance staff had massed around the cemetery through the day.

Police did not say how he was injured, but stressed that they had not fired any shots. They said Clifford has not yet been arrested.

“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.

Police did not say how or whether Clifford was connected to the women, but said they believed the attack was targeted. British media reported that Clifford was an ex-boyfriend of one of the victims.

Jenkins said the investigation was moving “at pace” and that formal identification of the victims had yet to take place.

The BBC confirmed the victims were the family of its sports commentator John Hunt. 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.

Shocked neighbors came late Wednesday to lay flowers near the scene of the attack.

“They were the loveliest, gentlest family,” said Su Kehinde, who lives nearby. “They were the meekest human beings. They did not deserve this. They were beautiful souls.”

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.

The new Labour Party government, which took office last week, said it would “swiftly consider” findings of a recently launched review into whether controls on owning crossbows should be tightened.

Security Minister Dan Jarvis said Home Secretary Yvette Cooper would “look clearly, very carefully at what happened yesterday – devastating events – and she will take a view in the near future.”

The weapon has been used in several high-profile crimes in recent years. In December 2021 a would-be assailant carrying a loaded crossbow broke into Windsor Castle after being encouraged by an AI chatbot to kill Queen Elizabeth II. Jaswant Singh Chail pleaded guilty to a treason charge and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

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