‘Sympathy, love and support’ pours in for John Hunt

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Julie Harrington expects the racing community to “rally around” commentator John Hunt after his wife and two daughters were killed in a crossbow attack at their home.

Carol Hunt, 61, who was married to the BBC 5 Live and Sky Sports Racing presenter, and two of their daughters, Hannah and Louise, died in Ashlyn Close, Bushey, Hertfordshire, on Tuesday evening.

Hertfordshire Police said triple murder suspect Kyle Clifford, 26, was found in the Enfield area of north London by officers on Wednesday afternoon. He is receiving medical treatment having been found with injuries.

In a statement, Harrington said: “The thoughts of everyone at the BHA are with John Hunt, his family and friends at this shocking and tragic time.

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“It is impossible to comprehend the horror that has been inflicted upon them by this dreadful event.

“John is a great friend to many in our sport and I am sure that in this time of unimaginable grief for him, the racing family will rally around as we have seen many times before when one of our number is faced with great trauma.”

The BBC’s former racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght underscored the “sympathy, love and support” sent to Hunt.

He told the PA news agency: “There are no words. Like everyone else I feel numb and sick on John’s behalf at such incomprehensible evil.

“Everyone who knows John knows he is the absolute archetypal family man, so proud of them, so it’s impossible to know what he can be going through.

“But I know I’m speaking for the whole racing community and the whole wider sports media community as well, both of which he’s been part of for so long, when I say everyone is sending sympathy, love and support to him. It’s just awful.”

Sky Sports Racing colleague and ITV presenter Matt Chapman added: “News like this is shocking enough but on a personal level even more so when it involves a friend and colleague you totally respect.

“There are no words here. Just the wish to let John know we love him and racing loves him. There are loads of us who he can talk to should he need or want to.

“John is an outstanding commentator and broadcaster – but he’s also just a lovely bloke.”

Hunt is both a commentator and presenter on Sky Sports Racing, who issued a statement that said: “Everyone at Sky Sports Racing is deeply saddened by the tragic deaths in Hertfordshire and our thoughts are with our colleague John Hunt, his family and friends at this awful time.”

Hunt has worked for BBC Radio 5 Live for around 20 years and as part of a note sent to staff on Wednesday, the organisation 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.”

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Mark Chapman gave a tearful tribute to his fellow commentator and friend after a “heartbreaking day”.

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At the start of his Euro 2024 pre-match show on 5 Live ahead of England’s win over the Netherlands, he said: “John Hunt is our colleague and our friend, not just to the current 5 Live sport team but to all of those who have worked here with him over the past 20 years and also to all of you who have enjoyed his superb commentaries.

“On behalf of everybody connected to 5 Live sport, our love and thoughts and support are with John and his family.”

The Professional Jockeys Association also passed on its condolences, posting on X, formerly Twitter: “This is an unspeakable tragedy to befall anyone, but to happen to someone as popular and beloved as John is even more heartbreaking.

“Jockeys will wear black armbands and observe a minute’s silence at race meetings tonight and tomorrow.”

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