Bushey crossbow attack: BBC Radio 5's Mark Chapman holds back tears on air after John Hunt's family tragedy

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BBC Radio 5 Live sports presenter Mark Chapman struggled to hold back tears on air as he expressed his sadness over the tragic deaths of the wife and daughters of his colleague, John Hunt.

Speaking just before the semi-final match between England and the Netherlands on Wednesday night (July 10), Chapman, who lost his wife in 2020 to illness, described the deaths as "heartbreaking."

Kyle Clifford, 26, who was captured on Wednesday afternoon after being hours on the run, was wanted in connection with the crossbow killings of Carol Hunt, 61, wife of BBC 5 Live racing commentator Hunt, and two of their daughters, Hannah, 28, and Louise, 25 the night before.

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He was found with injuries in Lavender Hill Cemetery in Enfield, north London and was taken to a major trauma centre for treatment. Police confirmed no shots had been fired by officers and said no arrest had yet been made. Footage from Sky News appeared to show Clifford being stretchered out of the cemetery by paramedics. Armed police had earlier swarmed the area, with an air ambulance seen nearby.

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A manhunt had been launched after the three women were found fatally injured in a house in the quiet cul-de-sac of Ashlyn Close, in Bushey, Hertfordshire, just after 7pm on Tuesday. Neighbours recalled hearing screaming on Tuesday evening as the “traumatic” incident unfolded.

An emotional Chapman said: “This has been a heartbreaking day. John Hunt is our colleague and our friend not just to the current 5 Live Sports team but all those who have worked with him over the past 20 years and also to all of you who have enjoyed his superb commentary. So, on behalf of everybody connected to 5 Live Sports, our love and thoughts and support are with John and his family.”

Chapman’s wife, Sara, passed away in June 2020 aged 44 after battling cancer. The couple, who married in 2000, have three children together.

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Hertfordshire Constabulary

In a press conference before Clifford was located, Chief Superintendent Jon Simpson from Hertfordshire Police told reporters the killings were believed to have been “targeted”.

During the manhunt for the suspect, who is understood to have left the Army in 2022 following a short stint, the force said they believed he may have been armed with a crossbow and warned the public not to approach him. He was believed to have been known to the victims.

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. 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 Home Secretary is urgently considering whether tougher crossbow laws are needed in the wake of the killings. Yvette Cooper will look at the findings of a Home Office review carried out earlier this year.

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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.”

Tributes have also poured in for Hunt and praised Chapman for the moving message. One said: “That was beautiful. Such a horrific day for John and his family and friends. My prayers and thoughts are with him and all his friends and colleagues as they cope with such a shattering loss.”

Another said: “I just cannot fathom the heartbreak that John is going through right now and hearing Mark's voice full of emotion is a painful listen even for those of us that don't know John Hunt. My prayers are with him right now.” One wrote: “Chappers doing his best to hold it together, especially given his loss, and the support given to him when it happened.”