The Guardian

Army veteran captured after three women are killed in crossbow attack

- Jamie Grierson Mabel Banfield-Nwachi Vikram Dodd

A British Army veteran wanted in connection with the murder of three women in a suspected crossbow attack has been captured after being found with injuries, police said.

Kyle Clifford, 26, who is understood to have served in the British army for about a year, was named as a suspect by Hertfordsh­ire police after the deaths of Carol Hunt, 61, and her two daughters, Hannah, 28, and Louise, 25, at a property in Bushey.

Ch Supt Jon Simpson, from Hertfordsh­ire police, told reporters yesterday that the suspected murders in Bushey were believed to have been “targeted”.

Yesterday afternoon a statement from Hertfordsh­ire police said that Clifford had been found in north London and had received medical treatment for injuries. Police emphasised that no shots were fired.

London Ambulance Service confirmed that a man was treated at a cemetery before being transporte­d to a “major trauma centre”, which could be one of four hospitals within the capital.

Yesterday afternoon there was a significan­t number of police at Lavender Hill Cemetery, 16 miles from the crime scene and near a property that was searched earlier in the day as part of the manhunt.

Paramedics and ambulances were also present at the location. Footage captured from a helicopter showed a man being stretchere­d out of the cemetery grounds.

At this stage, police said they believed the suspect was known to the victims and no one else was being sought in connection with the investigat­ion.

Sources said that Carol Hunt was found in the hallway of the house with a crossbow bolt in her chest, while evidence of ligatures were found near the victims. One of the victims was understood to have sent a text to her partner, urging a call to the police.

Clifford is believed to have served in the British army for a year, sources said. The Ministry of Defence was contacted for comment.

The women are understood to be the family of the BBC’s racing commentato­r John Hunt. In a note sent yesterday to staff of BBC Five Live, his place of work, the organisati­on described the incident as “utterly devastatin­g”.

The Hunts have another daughter, Amy, who is thought to live in Birmingham.

Police said that a crossbow or other weapons could have been used in the attacks, and that they were investigat­ing what relationsh­ip any of the victims might have had to Clifford.

The home secretary, Yvette Cooper, is urgently considerin­g the findings of a Home Office review, launched in 2021, to see if tougher crossbow laws need to be introduced.

A source said that the victims were not gagged and bound when found, but there were ligature marks around their wrists and face. The source said all the victims showed signs of injuries to their knees.

The Guardian understand­s that one of the victims called 999 and alerted police about the incident before the perpetrato­r fled.

Detectives have asked the public to report anything suspicious they might have seen in Ashlyn Close from midday on Tuesday, about seven hours before they found the women. A source said the women might have been held hostage for hours before police were called.

One neighbour described hearing screams from the suburban home where the three women died. The 46-year-old who lives near the scene but asked not to be named, said “absolute chaos” then broke out as armed police put the road into lockdown.

She told the PA news agency: “It was between 6.30pm and 7pm last night and it literally just sounded like kids, somebody screaming, and then it was more shrill and I was like ‘that’s definitely a woman screaming’, and within 15 minutes it was absolute chaos.

“We had armed police running down, screaming ‘stay in your house’... they shut us off and basically put us into lockdown.”

Yesterday morning armed police raided a property not far from the cemetery in Rendlesham Road, Enfield, which is understood to have been linked to Clifford’s brother, Bradley, who was jailed for life in 2018 for murder. Schools in the area were placed in lockdown.

DI Justine Jenkins, from the Bedfordshi­re, Cambridges­hire and Hertfordsh­ire Major Crime Unit, said: “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. This investigat­ion is moving at pace and formal identifica­tion of the victims is yet to take place.”

She added: “Following extensive enquiries the suspect has been located and nobody else is being sought in connection with the investigat­ion at this time.

“We have had an overwhelmi­ng number of calls and would like to express our gratitude to the members of the public who have contacted us.”

Detectives have appealed for informatio­n or video footage. The home secretary said she was being kept fully updated about the inquiry into the “truly shocking” deaths.

People do not need a licence to own a crossbow, but it is illegal to carry one in public without reasonable cause. A Home Office spokeswoma­n said: “We keep legislatio­n under constant review and a call for evidence was launched 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.”

 ?? PHOTOGRAPH: HERTFORDSH­IRE POLICE/REUTERS ?? Kyle Clifford, the suspect in the murders of three women found on Tuesday, was captured by police in the Enfield area
PHOTOGRAPH: HERTFORDSH­IRE POLICE/REUTERS Kyle Clifford, the suspect in the murders of three women found on Tuesday, was captured by police in the Enfield area
 ?? PHOTOGRAPH: JAMES LINSELL CLARK/SWNS ?? ▲ An armed police officer yesterday searches the Lavender Hill cemetery, in Enfield, during the hunt for Kyle Clifford
PHOTOGRAPH: JAMES LINSELL CLARK/SWNS ▲ An armed police officer yesterday searches the Lavender Hill cemetery, in Enfield, during the hunt for Kyle Clifford
 ?? PHOTOGRAPH: JAMES MANNING/PA ?? ▲ Forensic officers at the house in Ashlyn Close, Bushey, Hertfordsh­ire, where victims of the crossbow attack were found
PHOTOGRAPH: JAMES MANNING/PA ▲ Forensic officers at the house in Ashlyn Close, Bushey, Hertfordsh­ire, where victims of the crossbow attack were found

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