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A piercing scream, then silence: How a crossbow killer terrorized a quiet cul-de-sac by killing his ex-girlfriend, her sister and her mother after a ‘messy break-up’ before apparently shooting himself in a graveyard after a huge police manhunt


It was a scene of unimaginable horror that shook even hardened detectives. A defenseless mother and her two daughters tied up in their own home and shot with a 3ft long crossbow in a bloody rampage.

At around 6.30pm on Tuesday, neighbors of an £800,000 suburban house in a quiet cul-de-sac in Bushey, Hertfordshire, heard high-pitched screams, initially mistaken for those of a distressed child.

They were later to realize it was a woman’s desperate call for help from the home where Louise Hunt, 25, her sister Hannah, 28, and mother Carol, 61, were attacked by a crossbow-wielding killer.

Shortly after the screams died down, the assailant fled the property, meanwhile the police were alerted and on their way.

It is believed that when they found his wife and daughters fatally injured, officers were able to contact BBC horse racing commentator John Hunt, a voice known to millions, who was returning from work at Lingfield Park.

Louise Hunt, 25 (pictured), was the ex-girlfriend of suspect Kyle Clifford and was one of three women found dead in the family home.

Hannah Hunt, 28, and her mother Carol Hunt, 61, were also found dead in the family home.

Hannah Hunt, 28, and her mother Carol Hunt, 61, were also found dead in the family home.

BBC horse racing commentator John Hunt (pictured) is a voice known to millions

BBC horse racing commentator John Hunt (pictured) is a voice known to millions

Although police and an ambulance rushed to the house, they were unable to save the three victims, who died at the scene.

But it wasn’t long before detectives were on the trail of a suspect after a figure was seen running from an alley directly behind the scene of the murder. The man, dressed in black, was caught on camera calmly walking away with what appeared to be a crossbow tucked under his arm and hidden under a white sheet.

Footage from a nearby camera showed a bearded figure carrying a heavy bag which police feared could be a stash of the weapon he used to carry out the brutal attack.

He coolly walked within range of a neighbor who was standing alone in her driveway petting a cat and seemed startled by the sight of a barely concealed gun at 6:50 p.m.

Within hours, a nationwide manhunt was under way for ex-soldier Kyle Clifford, who was named by police in a highly unusual move. The 26-year-old previously served briefly in the Queen’s Dragoon Guards before leaving after failing to impress superiors, it was said last night.

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Yesterday, neighbors revealed Clifford had been in a relationship with the Hunts’ youngest daughter, Louise, but she broke up with him a week ago.

Their breakup is said to have shaken her so much that she recently crashed her car into a telegraph pole in front of the family home.

Hannah, 28, who worked as a beautician nearby, was 'always smiling'

Hannah, 28, who worked as a beautician nearby, was ‘always smiling’

Yesterday, neighbors revealed Clifford had been in a relationship with the Hunts' youngest daughter, Louise, but she broke up with him a week ago.

Yesterday, neighbors revealed Clifford had been in a relationship with the Hunts’ youngest daughter, Louise, but she broke up with him a week ago.

A huge manhunt is underway for suspect Kyle Clifford, 26, who is the ex-boyfriend of John's daughter Louise.

A huge manhunt is underway for suspect Kyle Clifford, 26, who is the ex-boyfriend of John’s daughter Louise.

A police car is parked on Ashley Close in Bushey, Hertfordshire, north of London

A police car is parked on Ashley Close in Bushey, Hertfordshire, north of London

Neighbor Glyn Nicholas, 77, said: “Louise was a very nice girl. She ran a dog grooming business from her home. I heard she broke up with her boyfriend last week and was very upset about it.

“Louise’s friend told me that her car door had caved in because of the impact.

He added: “Carol was a lovely, polite and quiet lady. She was at home a lot of the time.

“Everyone was very nice, a private family. Everyone was doing their own thing. Louise started the business a couple of years ago and it was a thriving business – we all took our dogs there to have them groomed.

“They were a very close family and they loved the street. They’ve had a lot of work done on their house over the years.’

Mother-of-three Mrs Hunt recently told friends at her local gym that her youngest daughter had been involved in a «messy break-up» with her boyfriend.

One suggested that her daughter’s relationship had turned ugly.

The friend said: ‘She said her daughter’s break-up with her boyfriend was messy. Carol didn’t go into too much detail, but you could tell she was worried.’

Police yesterday warned the public not to approach the suspect, who was last seen leaving the cul-de-sac in a gray vehicle the previous evening.

Their breakup is said to have shaken Louise so much that she recently crashed her car into a telegraph pole in front of the family home.

Their breakup is said to have shaken Louise so much that she recently crashed her car into a telegraph pole in front of the family home.

The man received medical attention before being taken to the Royal London Hospital

The man received medical attention before being taken to the Royal London Hospital

Kyle Clifford dropped out of the Army weeks before he was supposed to murder three people

Kyle Clifford dropped out of the Army weeks before he was supposed to murder three people

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Armed police search Lavender Hill Cemetery in Enfield as the hunt for fugitive Kyle Clifford takes a new turn

Armed police search Lavender Hill Cemetery in Enfield as the hunt for fugitive Kyle Clifford takes a new turn

One neighbor said «absolute chaos» broke out when armed police arrived. She said: ‘It was between 6.30pm and 7pm and it sounded like children, someone screaming and then it got more piercing and I thought, ‘That must be a woman screaming’ and within 15 minutes it was absolute chaos .

«Armed policemen ran up to us and shouted, ‘Stay in your house’… they shut us down and basically locked us out.» The police search was mainly focused on Hertfordshire and north London yesterday as police did not believe their suspect had time to get much further.

Passengers arriving at London’s Victoria station in the morning rush hour, before news of the tragedy became public, found their exit slowed as they were unusually lined up through the barriers, allowing lines of police on the opposite side to scan the crowd and check every face. .

Local schools were later closed as armed police raided the suspect’s home in Enfield, north London, about 14 miles from the scene.

One mother said: ‘They cordoned off the road and took people away from the house they were going to. They were wearing full protective gear, weapons, shields and helmets – the kind you’d expect to see in a riot.”

Dozens of officers from Scotland Yard and Hertfordshire Police flooded the area shortly after after finding Clifford’s abandoned car. But within hours, the hunt moved to a nearby cemetery, just a few minutes’ walk away. The former security guard was later found with a self-inflicted wound at Lavender Hill Cemetery shortly after 4.30pm after apparently shooting himself with a crossbow.

In a flurry of intense activity, armed police cordoned off the cemetery as eyewitnesses saw paramedics rushing into the compound.

Rae Cresswell, 26, a local who filmed the commotion, said: “I saw about ten officers coming. I was quite worried because they were armed and had dogs with them.

“I asked them if they wanted me to leave, but they said it was fine to stay. They started checking the area so I left shortly after and came back to see all these vehicles.’

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About 20 minutes later, Clifford was dragged from the scene and taken by ambulance to the Royal London Hospital, where he was treated last night.

Police confirmed that officers did not fire and were not looking for anyone else.

Mr Hunt, himself a former policeman before taking up radio and becoming a much-loved figure on the racing circuit, was said to be inconsolable last night. In a note to BBC staff, she said: “Today’s news about John Hunt’s family is absolutely devastating.

«We are with John and his family at this incredibly difficult time and we will give him all the support we can.»

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Julie Harrington said: “The thoughts of everyone at the BHA are with John Hunt, his family and friends. It is impossible to understand the horror this terrible event caused them.

«John is a great friend to many in our sport and I am sure that at this time of unimaginable grief for him, the racing family will rally together, as we have seen many times before when one of our own faces great trauma.»

Last night, neighbors and friends continued to lay flowers at the scene. One friend, Su Kehinde, 60, who lives nearby, said she would remember them as ‘beautiful souls’. She said: “They were the loveliest, gentlest family. They didn’t deserve this. They were beautiful souls.’

Her daughter April, 32, said Hannah, who worked as a beautician nearby, was ‘always smiling’.

She added: ‘She was hardworking, tough and really gentle.’

Six years ago, Clifford’s older brother was convicted of murder at the Old Bailey.

Bradley Clifford, a plumber, was 23 when he mowed down Soban Khan, 18, and Jahshua Francis, 19, on their moped after bottles hit his «prized» Ford Mustang.

Both teenagers were thrown from the moped by the impact and Mr Khan was beaten by Bradley Clifford as he lay injured on the ground.

The incident followed an altercation outside a bar in Enfield in which Clifford’s car suffered surface damage. He became enraged and chased the pair in a 20-minute high-speed chase before crashing into a moped.

Clifford was jailed for life and told to serve a minimum of 23 years for Mr Khan’s murder and attempted GBH with intent on Mr Francis.



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