Thursday, July 25, 2024

Crossbow-wielding triple murder suspect in U.K. caught after massive manhunt

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LONDON — A man suspected of using a crossbow to kill three women from the same family in a house north of London was captured by police Wednesday at a local cemetery.

Kyle Clifford was taken into custody in the town of Enfield after a massive manhunt and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, police said.

“He is receiving medical treatment having been found with injuries,” police said in a statement. “No shots were fired by police.”

Police did not divulge a possible motive for the triple murder. They said in the statement, “At this stage, we believe the suspect was known to the victims.”

Police warned the public not to approach the 26-year-old triple-murder suspect because he might still be armed with the crossbow, a bolt-firing weapon.

Investigators believe the victims were targeted specifically in the “horrific incident,” Jon Simpson, chief superintendent of Hertfordshire Police, said at a news conference before Clifford was nabbed.

The victims, ages 25, 28 and 61, are believed to have been related, he said.

The BBC identified the victims as Carol Hunt, the 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 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

Such incidents are rare and shocking in Britain, where the murder rate is one-sixth that of the U.S., according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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

Crossbow killings are extremely uncommon, with fewer than 10 in the U.K. from 2011 to 2021, the government said.

There are no laws governing who can buy or own one so long as people are age 18 or over. But anyone caught carrying one of the 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, 19, arrived at Windsor Castle with a crossbow and told authorities he planned to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain’s newly installed interior minister, Yvette Cooper, called this week’s incident “truly shocking” and said 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,” Detective Superintendent Rob Hall, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said in an earlier statement.

Alexander Smith reported from London and Corky Siemaszko from New York City.

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