11 July 2024

Colleagues and friends pay tribute to ‘lovely family’ killed in crossbow attack

11 July 2024

Colleagues and friends of the wife and daughters of a BBC racing commentator who were killed with a crossbow have paid tribute to the “lovely family”.

Suspect Kyle Clifford, 26, is in hospital after being found injured during Wednesday’s manhunt for the alleged killer.

Carol Hunt, 61, the wife of BBC 5 Live racing commentator John Hunt, was killed alongside her two daughters Hannah, 28 and Louise, 25, during an incident in the quiet cul-de-sac of Ashlyn Close in Bushey, Hertfordshire, just after 7pm on Tuesday.

On Thursday, further searches took place at a house linked to Clifford’s brother, Bradley Clifford, who was jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years for the murder of moped passenger Soban Khan in 2018.

According to the Metropolitan Police, at the time of the murder, Bradley Clifford had targeted the moped before crashing into it, and continued to assault Mr Khan after the collision.

Officers were seen at the address in Rendlesham Road, Enfield, north London, in relation to the deaths.

Police staff wearing gloves and face masks were seen outside the property, which was first searched on Wednesday.

Lea Holloway, 60, a childhood friend of Carol Hunt, described her as a “beautiful person”.

Speaking outside St James’ Church on Thursday after a vigil for Mrs Hunt and her daughters, she said: “We grew up together and were pregnant at the same time.

“This is the stuff nightmares are made of.

“I was there the night she met John (Hunt). It was in a nightclub in Hemel Hempstead. We went out together, went to birthdays and events.

“It’s very difficult. She was the nicest, kindest, sweetest person you could ever meet. A beautiful person.”

Ms Holloway continued: “They were a lovely family and (the daughters) were lovely girls.

“They were making their way through life and their lives have been taken too soon. It’s the thing of nightmares.

“I feel for their eldest daughter and John (Hunt). I can’t imagine what it would be like.”

After being joined by two other close friends, Dionne Smith, 58, and Abigail Phillips, 58, the trio told reporters: “We were a four, and now there’s only three.

“It doesn’t seem real. We are together in grief.”

In a post on Facebook, Hannah Hunt’s colleagues at The Anti-Ageing Clinic in Radlett, Hertfordshire, said it was with “deep regret and sadness” that they learned of the “horrific murder on Tuesday night of our skin therapist Hannah”.

The post continued: “She was a fantastic therapist and clients loved her.

“We send our condolences and prayers to her Dad, sister and family.

“She was very much a part of our team. Please bear with us at this terrible time.”

Flowers were left at the scene in Ashlyn Close on Thursday, with notes attached to some bouquets with messages such as “rest in peace”.

Clifford was found injured in Lavender Hill Cemetery in Enfield, north London, on Wednesday and was taken to a major trauma centre for treatment.

Police said no shots had been fired by officers and no arrest had yet been made.

Footage from Sky News appeared to show Clifford being stretchered out of the cemetery by paramedics.

Armed police had earlier been in the area, with an air ambulance nearby.

Neighbours recalled hearing screaming on Tuesday, as the “traumatic” incident unfolded.

In a press conference before Clifford was found, Chief Superintendent Jon Simpson, from Hertfordshire Police, told reporters the killings were believed to have been “targeted”.

During the hunt for Clifford, who is understood to have left the Army in 2022 after a short stint, the force said they believed he may have been armed with a crossbow and warned people not to approach him.

He was believed to have been known to the victims.

Radio 5 Live presenter Mark Chapman paid an emotional tribute at the start of the Euro 2024 pre-match show on Wednesday evening.

Speaking through tears, he said: “This has been a heartbreaking day.

“John Hunt is our colleague and our friend, not just to the current 5 Live sport team but to all of those who have worked here with him over the past 20 years and also to all of you who have enjoyed his superb commentaries.

“On behalf of everybody connected to 5 Live sport, our love and thoughts and support are with John and his family.”

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper is urgently considering whether tougher crossbow laws are needed in the wake of the killings.

She will look at the findings of a Home Office review carried out earlier this year.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We keep legislation under constant review and a call for evidence was launched earlier this year to look at whether further controls on crossbows should be introduced.

“The Home Secretary will swiftly consider the findings to see if laws need to be tightened further.”

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