A man stared straight ahead as he appeared in court accused of murdering a mother - an hour after police let him go after speaking to him.
Nicola Cross, 37, was stabbed to death at her home in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, on Monday night.
Her neighbour Marcin Porczynski, 23, is charged with murdering her.
Porczynski 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 into the dock at Hatfield Magistrates' Court by a uniformed officer.
Porczynski, who lived in Claymore Avenue, around the corner from Mrs Cross's home in Dunlin Road, 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 during the short hearing.
He did not give an indication of plea.
Mrs Cross's husband Dan was not in court for the hearing.
Hertfordshire Police has admitted 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 probing 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 was led away from the dock in handcuffs as he was remanded in custody and will appear at St Albans Crown Court tomorrow for a preliminary hearing.
A 19-year-old man arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle has been released on police bail until September 24.