Nicola Cross Hemel Hempstead stabbing
Nicola Cross, 37, was stabbed to death at home in Hemel HempsteadHertfordshire Police

Hertfordshire Police have referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following an incident in Hemel Hempstead on Monday (14 September) where a mother-of-two was stabbed to death as her children slept nearby. A 25-year-old man, Marcin Porczynski, has been remanded in custody charged with Ms Cross's murder.

Ms Cross's husband, IT consultant Danny Cross, was working late that evening and the couple's two children, a boy aged six and a girl, three, were asleep in bed. Both children were unharmed. Ms Cross, who ran a greetings card business from home, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Following the incident it emerged that police had been called to the street where the incident took place on Dunlin Road at 10.30pm, after receiving word that a man was acting suspiciously. He was spoken to and police left, but an hour later a second member of the public reported a burglary. As police attended they became aware of a commotion nearby. When they went to investigate, they found Ms Cross's body.

Marcin Porczynski, the local man arrested for Ms Cross's murder, is reported to have been the same person police had spoken to earlier. A 19-year-old man, also from Hemel Hempstead, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to burgle and released on bail.

Dunlin Road Hemel Hempstead
Nicola Cross was found stabbed at a property in Hemel HempsteadGoogle Streetview

Detective Chief Inspector Jerome Kent from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit is investigating. He said: "This is an extremely shocking murder in which a young mother has lost her life. Our thoughts are with her children, husband and wider family at this tragic time. The family are being fully supported by specially trained officers.

"Understandably the wider community may also be concerned about the events of last night, however I would like to reassure you that incidents such as these are extremely unusual in Hertfordshire. I would like to assure you we have a dedicated team of officers and staff working to investigate the full circumstances of what has happened."

Relatives of the family were too upset to speak about the incident, but a neighbour was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: "The police and ambulance were called out at about 11 o'clock. The woman next door said she heard screaming.

"There was a light on in the bedroom on the first floor. I think the front door was locked and then police had to get in through the next door neighbour's house and the garden. Later on I saw a man in his 20s handcuffed in the street. I saw the children being taken away somewhere safe."