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Britain considers tougher crossbow shooting laws after attack kills three women

Britain considers tougher crossbow shooting laws after attack kills three women

LONDON (AP) — A man suspected of killing the wife and daughters of a BBC sports commentator with a crossbow was being treated in a hospital Thursday after he was found injured in a cemetery about 14 miles (22 kilometers) from the crime scene.

Police had been searching for Kyle Clifford for almost a day after Carol Hunt (61) and her daughters Hannah (28) and Louise (25) were attacked in their home in Bushey, north-west London. Police and emergency services called to the cul-de-sac on Tuesday evening attempted to rescue the pair, but they were pronounced dead at the scene.

After a frantic search across much of northern London, 26-year-old Clifford was found near his home in the Enfield district of north London on Wednesday.

Sky News footage showed the suspect being carried out of Lavender Hill Cemetery on a stretcher. Armed police, forensic officers and paramedics had gathered around the cemetery throughout the day.

Police did not say how he was injured, but stressed that no shots were fired. They said Clifford has not yet been arrested.

“Following extensive enquiries, the suspect has been located and no one else is currently wanted in connection with the investigation,” said Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins of the Major Crime Unit for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

The police did not provide any information about whether and what connection Clifford had to the women, but assumed that the attack was targeted. British media reported that Clifford was the ex-boyfriend of one of the victims.

Jenkins said the investigation was progressing “quickly,” but formal identification of the victims was not yet imminent.

The BBC confirmed that the victims were the family of its sports commentator John Hunt. Hunt is the lead racing commentator on BBC 5 Live, the broadcaster’s main news and sports radio channel. His voice is known to millions of people through his coverage of the world-famous Grand National and The Derby.

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

“They were the most loving, gentle family,” said Su Kehinde, who lives nearby. “They were the gentlest people. They didn’t deserve this. They were beautiful souls.”

In the UK, no license is required to own a crossbow. However, it is illegal to carry a crossbow in public without a valid reason.

The new Labour government, which took office last week, said it would “expeditiously examine” the findings of a recent inquiry into whether controls on the ownership of crossbows should be tightened.

Security Minister Dan Jarvis said Home Secretary Yvette Cooper would “look closely and very carefully at yesterday’s events – the devastating events – and form a view on them in the near future.”

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