A huge manhunt for a potentially armed triple murder suspect is under way following the “utterly devastating” crossbow deaths of the wife and two daughters of a BBC racing commentator.

As part of a note sent to BBC 5 Live staff on Wednesday, the organisation said it would provide John Hunt with “all the support we can” after the killings of Carol Hunt and her two daughters Hannah and Louise in Bushey, Hertfordshire.

Police have said 26-year-old suspect Kyle Clifford, who is understood to have left the British Army in 2022 following a short period of service, is believed to be armed and in Hertfordshire or north London.

The hunt for Clifford appeared to focus on a cemetery in the Hilly Fields area of Enfield, north London on Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency services, including armed police, could be seen in the area in footage posted on social media, with Hertfordshire Police saying they were unable to confirm whether they had narrowed their search for the triple murder suspect to the area.

Armed police also searched a home in Rendlesham Road, Enfield, on Wednesday morning as the hunt for Clifford continued.

He is wanted over the deaths of Mrs Hunt and two of her daughters who were aged 25 and 28 when they were killed in Ashlyn Close on Tuesday.

Footage posted on social media appeared to show the suspect wearing black and carrying a large item under his right arm as he walked near the scene.

He is then seen to place the item into a black car, getting in the vehicle and pausing for a moment before driving away.

Police at the scene in Ashlyn Close, Bushey, Hertfordshire
Police at the scene in Ashlyn Close, Bushey, Hertfordshire (James Manning/PA)

Enfield Council said it had been advised by the police that there is “no perceived threat to the public so the guidance is to carry on as normal”.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Superintendent Jon Simpson from Hertfordshire Police told reporters the murders are believed to be “targeted”.

The force also warned the public not to approach the suspect who “may be in possession of a crossbow”.

Addressing Clifford directly, Mr Simpson said: “Kyle, if you are seeing or hearing this, please make contact with the police.”

Children at a primary school in Enfield have been kept indoors as police search for the triple murder suspect.

Jade-Simone Bacon, headteacher of St Michael’s CofE Primary School in Brigadier Hill, in Enfield, told the PA news agency pupils have not been allowed to go outside.

Parents will be able to pick up their children at “the normal time” at the end of the school day, Mrs Bacon confirmed.

In a note sent to BBC 5 Live staff after the deaths, the broadcaster said: “The news today about John Hunt’s family is utterly devastating.

Locator graphic of where the incident took place
(PA Graphics)

“Our thoughts are with John and his family at this incredibly difficult time and we will provide him with all the support we can.”

The force said it is looking at whether it had contact with the victims or Clifford before the killings.

One neighbour described hearing screams from the suburban home where the three women died on Tuesday.

The 46-year-old who works in the media and 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.”

Bushey triple murder
Flowers left near the scene in Ashlyn Close, Bushey, where the wife and two daughters of a BBC sports commentator have been killed in a crossbow attack (James Manning/PA)

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said she is being kept fully updated about the inquiry into the “truly shocking” deaths.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We keep legislation under constant review and a call for evidence was launched earlier 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 further.”

Messages of condolence were posted on social media by figures from the racing world.

ITV racing commentator Matt Chapman wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “No words needed for what has happened to @HuntyCaller and family today.

“Impossible to comprehend the pain. Just know we are all here for you John. We love you pal – racing loves you.”

The Amateur Jockeys Association of Great Britain and Beverley Racecourse were among others sending their sympathies.