A man stabbed to death a mother and then tried to kidnap her two young children, a court has heard.
Mother-of-two Nicola Cross, 37, was murdered in her house in Hemel Hempstead on Monday night while her husband Dan was out.
Marcin Porczynski, 23, is accused of murdering Mrs Cross in front of her six year-old son and three year-old daughter.
He then allegedly kidnapped her two children but was stopped and arrested by police who were investigating a report of a burglary next door.
Porczynski stared straight ahead and leaned forward as he appeared via video link at Luton Crown Court from Bedford Prison.
During the brief hearing the judge Michael Kay QC told the court that her husband Dan "must be in a seriously traumatised state at the moment from what I've heard".
Porczynski is also charged with two counts of kidnap and one of trespassing a dwelling with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He moved to Britain from his native Poland around a year ago and lived around the corner from his alleged victim.
Wearing a green and yellow buttoned up shirt he spoke only to confirm his name during the brief hearing.
He leaned forward several times, and at one point held his head in his hands.
He was remanded in custody to appear at St Albans Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing on December 4.
A provisional trial date has been set for March 7 next year for St Albans Crown Court.