Manhunt launched in U.K. for crossbow-armed triple murder suspect

LONDON — A manhunt has been launched for a crossbow-wielding suspect Wednesday after three women in the same family were killed in a house north of London, police said.

Authorities warned the public not to approach Kyle Clifford, 26, who is wanted in connection with the triple murder and may still be armed with the bolt-firing weapon.

Investigators believe the victims were targeted specifically in this “horrific incident,” Chief Superintendent Jon Simpson, of Hertfordshire Police, told a news conference. The women, aged 25, 28 and 61, are believed to have been related, he said.

The BBC identified the victims as Carol Hunt, wife of BBC horse racing commentator John Hunt, and two of their daughters.

“Extensive police resources” — including armed police, a relative rarity in largely-unarmed Britain — have been deployed across the local county of Hertfordshire and adjacent north London, he added.

Earlier police had urged the public to avoid approaching the suspect, warning that he may still be carrying the crossbow. They said other weapons may have been used in the killings which happened at 7 p.m. local time Tuesday (2 p.m. ET) in the small town of Bushey, northwest of London,

Police warned the public not to approach Kyle Clifford.Hertfordshire Police

These types of incidents are rare and shocking in Britain, where the murder rate is more than six times lower than in the United States, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

That’s largely due to Britain’s far stricter gun laws, although knife crime and stabbings have risen in recent years and become a hot-button issue in British politics.

Crossbow killings are very uncommon, with fewer than 10 in the U.K. between 2011 and 2021, the government says. There are no laws on who can buy or own one so long as they are aged 18 or over. But anyone carrying one of these weapons in public without a reasonable excuse can face four years in jail.

In February, the government said it was exploring toughening those restrictions, citing an incident on Christmas Day 2021 when Jaswant Singh Chail, aged 19, arrived at Windsor Castle with a crossbow and planned to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain’s newly elected interior minister Yvette Cooper called this week’s incident “truly shocking” and that she was being kept updated.

Officers were called to a suburban street lined with generous, detached houses to find three women with serious injuries, police said in a statement. Despite efforts by paramedics to save the women, all three died at the scene.

“This is an incredibly difficult incident for the victims’ family and we would ask that their privacy is respected as they come to terms with what has happened,” Det. Supt. Rob Hall, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said in an earlier statement.

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