Locals of a leafy English town are in mourning as the racing community rallies behind BBC radio commentator John Hunt in the wake of the tragic crossbow murders of his wife and two daughters.

The Daily Mail newspaper and others reported that Hunt found the bodies early on Tuesday evening after returning home from reporting at Lingfield Park racecourse south of London.

Victims Hannah, Carol and Louise Hunt. (Facebook)

A growing shrine of tributes are being laid at the scene overnight as the devastated residents of Ashlyn Close try to come to terms with the callous attack.

“It’s really sad. Ashlyn Close is a very small road, it’s really shocking …absolutely shocking and I feel sorry for the family,” one neighbour, who asked not to be named, told local news outlet Watford Observer.

“I’m so sad for the family. It’s a shocking thing to happen. It’s just a quiet little area.”

BBC radio presenter John Hunt and his wife Carol
BBC radio presenter John Hunt and his wife Carol. (BBC)

Alyssa Maxim, 18, told the publication “everyone knows everyone” on the quiet, leafy cul-de-sac.

“We got so close, especially during COVID. My mum was obviously very close with (their) mum and they chatted in the street,” she said.

“Everyone says they were such a lovely family. They were a nice normal family.”

Su Kehinde, 60, who lives nearby, tearfully turned out to lay flowers at the makeshift memorial this morning.

“They were the loveliest, gentlest family,” she told the Guardian.

“They were the meekest human beings. They did not deserve this. They were beautiful souls.”

Grieving neighbours have begun laying flowers and handwritten notes at a makeshift memorial on Ashlyn Close
Grieving neighbours have begun laying flowers and handwritten notes at a makeshift memorial on Ashlyn Close. (AP)

As floral tributes and handwritten notes line Ashlyn Close, Hunt’s colleagues have sent messages of love and support.

As part of a note sent to BBC staff, the broadcaster described the tragedy as “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 note read.

Residents said “everyone knows everyone” on the quiet leafy cul-de-sac. (AP)

Matt Chapman, a racing commentator with ITV, said there were “no words” to describe what unfolded.

“Impossible to comprehend the pain. Just know we are all here for you John. We love you pal – racing loves you,” Chapman wrote in a tribute.

Sky Sports Racing said the network was “deeply saddened by the tragic deaths”.

“Our thoughts are with our colleague John Hunt, his family and friends at this awful time.”

Morris Bright, councillor of the Hertsmere borough of Hertfordshire, paid his respects.

“Residents of Bushey are shocked and disturbed at the news that a triple murder has taken place in Ashlyn Close,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

“Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue service who provided assistance at the scene of the crimes last night have offered any further support needed by the Police.

“In the meantime our thoughts and prayers are with these who have been killed, their families and local residents affected by these horrific crimes.”

Chelmsford City Racecourse said Hunt is “a long-standing and valued member of our community”.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with him, his family and his friends at this time.”

Jockeys wear black armbands in respect of BBC Racing radio commentator John Hunt
Jockeys at Kempton Park Racecourse wear black armbands in respect of BBC Racing radio commentator John Hunt and his loved ones. (Getty)

The Professional Jockeys’ Association said all jockeys would wear black armbands and observe a minute’s silence for tonight’s races, through to tomorrow, in honour of Hunt and his family.

“This is an unspeakable tragedy to befall anyone, but to happen to someone as popular and beloved as John is even more heartbreaking,” it said in a statement.

Following a manhunt, Hertfordshire Police said 26-year-old Kyle Clifford was found in the Enfield area of north London, near his home suffering injuries.

Police did not say how those injuries happened but said they had not fired any shots.

“This continues to be an incredibly difficult time for the victims’ family and we would ask that their privacy is respected as they come to terms with what has happened,” Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit said.

A vigil mass will be held on behalf of the hunt family at St James and St Pauls Parish at Bushey today about 8pm AEST.

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