A woman who was stabbed to death by an intruder was on the phone to her husband when she was attacked.
Marcin Porczynski, 25, has been charged with the murder of 37-year-old mother Nicola Cross who was found stabbed to death in her home in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire by police on Monday evening.
A friend of the family said Mrs Cross' husband Dan, who was working away from home, heard everything on the phone after his wife called him to tell him about an intruder.
The friend, who was not identified, told the Daily Mail: "Dan heard everything on the other end of the phone. He was working away in Hull at the time.
"Dan will never get that call out of his memory. He’ll have that for the rest of his life, knowing that he was too far away and could never have got to her to save her.
"I just feel sick, it’s devastating. I’ve got three kids and it’s disgusting that they can do that to a woman at home with her children."
Detective Chief Inspector Jerome Kent, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: "Nicola's family remain forefront in our minds at this extremely tragic time. The children are safe and with family, who continue to be supported by specially trained officers.
"We fully appreciate the events of Monday night have also significantly impacted the wider community, however, I would like to reassure you that this was a tragic and isolated incident, the events of which are highly unusual within Hertfordshire."
Mr Porczynski was also charged with two counts of kidnap and burglary at a neighbouring property and will appear at Hatfield Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
A 19-year-old has also been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle in connection with the case and has been released on police bail.
Additional reporting by PA