Nicola Cross 'perfect wife' says family as stab murder charge man faces court
The family of a woman stabbed to death in her own home have described her as the "perfect wife and the most amazing mummy" - as a man appeared in court accused of her murder.
Mother-of-two Nicola Cross, 37, known to her family as Nikki, was stabbed to death at her home in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, on Monday night.
Her neighbour Marcin Porczynski, 23, has been charged with her murder.
Her family today told of their heartbreak at her "tragic" death and said they will "remember her with undying love".
In a statement they said: "Our Nikki is the heart and soul of our family. She was kind, generous, brave and incredibly talented. The most beautiful person inside and out, Nikki was the perfect wife and the most amazing mummy.
"She installed core belief in our children to never give up and we will continue what she has built, which is a solid loving family who will remember her with undying love.
"We would all appreciate if you could respect our privacy at this traumatic and difficult time, so we can begin to come to terms with the tragic, untimely loss of our beloved Nikki."
Relatives released a photo of Mrs Cross beaming with pride on her wedding day, wearing a traditional white dress and carrying a pretty bouquet in her hand.
Around two dozen bunches of flowers have been laid outside her home in Dunlin Road, in a colourful tribute.
Attached to one bunch of pink and white flowers was a note which read: "Darling Nikki, your (sic) forever in our hearts, a ray of light. The world is a darker place without you in it."
Hertfordshire Police said officers spoke to Porczynski an hour before Mrs Cross's death after receiving reports of a man acting suspiciously, but they let him go.
Police were called back to the street an hour later to investigate reports a man was trespassing into a neighbouring home.
It was while they were investigating this that officers discovered Mrs Cross, who lived next door, had been stabbed. She was later pronounced dead.
Hertfordshire Police have referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Porczynski stared straight ahead as he appeared in the dock at Hatfield Magistrates' Court accused of her murder.
He is also charged with two counts of kidnap and one of trespassing a dwelling with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Wearing a grey tracksuit he stared at the press bench with his mouth slightly agape as he was led in to the dock by a uniformed officer.
Porczynski, who lived in Claymore Avenue, around the corner from Mrs Cross's home, held his hands clasped in front of him during the brief hearing.
Using a Polish interpreter, he spoke only to confirm his name, age and address and did not give an indication of plea.
He was remanded in custody and will appear at St Albans Crown Court at 10am tomorrow for a preliminary hearing.