Neighbours and friends of a mother and two daughters killed in a crossbow attack have described them as “beautiful souls”.

Carol Hunt, 61, wife of BBC racing commentator John Hunt, and their two daughters Hannah, 28, and Louise, 25, were killed in Bushey, Hertfordshire, on Tuesday.

The Hunts were described as “the loveliest, gentlest family” as well-wishers laid flowers by the police cordon in Ashlyn Close, a quiet suburban cul-de-sac, on Wednesday.

A friend of Louise Hunt, who knew her from their time at school, said she was “always a positive person” and that he could not think of “anything bad to say about her”.

In an interview with BBC News, he said: “I knew Louise back from school days and she was really sweet, very kind, always a positive person.

“I can’t think of anything bad to say about her – a really lovely person all round, a super hard-working person.”

“It’s been a massive shock,” he added.

Neighbour Su Kehinde, 60, who laid flowers at a makeshift tribute in the area on Wednesday, said: “They were the loveliest, gentlest family.

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

Her daughter April, 32, said that Hannah “always had a smile” and was “hard-working, a hard grafter and really gentle”.

Glyn Nicholas, 77, who has lived on the same road as the victims for 50 years and is a customer of Louise’s dog grooming business, said: “I knew of them, I said ‘hello’ to them and all that.”

He added: “They were a private family, all very nice, a private family. They all did their own things.

“Louise started a business a couple of years ago, and it was a thriving business – we all took our dogs there to be groomed.”

Mr Nicholas added that the Hunts were a “very close-knit family” who “loved” the street.

Love and support has also poured in for Mr Hunt from the sports media and racing communities.

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

At the start of his Euros pre-match show on 5 Live on Wednesday evening, Mr Chapman 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.”

ITV and Sky Sports Racing commentator Matt Chapman said: “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.”