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Manhunt launched in the U.K. for crossbow-wielding triple murder suspect

LONDON — A manhunt has been launched for a crossbow-wielding suspect Wednesday after three women in the same family were killed in a house north of London, police said.

Authorities warned the public not to approach Kyle Clifford, 26, who is wanted in connection with the triple murder and may still be armed with the bolt-firing weapon.

“Given the serious nature of the incident, I would ask anyone who knows where he is to contact police immediately,” said Det. Supt. Rob Hall, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, in a statement.

Police warned the public not to approach Kyle Clifford.Hertfordshire Police

“If you believe you see him, please do not approach him and dial 999 straight away,” he added, referring to the United Kingdom’s emergency number. “He may still be in possession of a weapon.”

These types of incidents are rare and shocking in Britain, where the murder rate is more than six times lower than in the United States, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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

Crossbow killings are very uncommon, with fewer than 10 in the U.K. between 2011 and 2021, the government says. There are no laws on who can buy or own one so long as they are aged 18 or over. But anyone carrying one of these 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, aged 19, arrived at Windsor Castle with a crossbow and planned to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain’s newly elected interior minister Yvette Cooper called this week’s incident “truly shocking” and that she was being kept updated.

The triple murder happened at 7 p.m. local time Tuesday (2 p.m. ET) in the small town of Bushey, northwest of London, according to the Hertfordshire Constabulary, the local police force.

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 to save the women, who are believed to be related, all three died at the scene, it said.

“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,” Hall, the detective superintendent, said.

Police are now hunting for Clifford, who they say may be in north London or Hertfordshire, the county where the incident happened.

The Hertfordshire Constabulary confirmed to NBC News that the suspect was armed with a crossbow at the time of the incident, and that he may still have the weapon on him.

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