The family of young woman who was stabbed to death in her home said that they were devastated as police disclosed that they were hunting her estranged husband.
Nazia Ahmed, 23, was with her 20-year-old sister, Shazia, when they were attacked on Saturday lunchtime. The killer, described as an Asian man in his mid twenties, was spotted fleeing the scene in blood-soaked clothing.
Both women were taken to hospital with stab wounds. Nazia died, while her sister remains in a serious but stable condition.
The family said: "We are a very close and loving family, and have lost a much-loved daughter and sister in the most tragic of circumstances, and another life is seriously injured in hospital. We are totally devastated. If anyone has any information which will assist the police, it is the wish of the family that they come forward."
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said the force was hunting Ms Ahmed's 26-year-old husband.
"Zameer Ahmed was the estranged husband of Nazia Ahmed. Detectives do not believe he poses a threat to the public but would ask that anyone who sees him contacts the police immediately," he said.
The sisters were attacked in the house near the centre of Blackburn that they shared with their parents and two brothers. The property was cordoned off yesterday as a forensic team searched it.
Relatives and well-wishers offered their condolences at a large mansion opposite, where the rest of the family lived. Several detectives visited the home, thought to be owned by the sisters' uncle, Munir Ahmed, brother of their father, Bashir.
The family, who are originally from Pakistan but have lived in the UK for many years, own businesses in Blackburn including a post office and the Shahi Qila restaurant, next to the mansion. The business was recently praised for its commitment and support of the local community when it agreed to sponsor the Bank Top Rovers football team.
Suleman Khonat, a Labour councillor for the area, said: "I have known the family for more than 30 years. They are a very close family, a very good family who are very much part of the community. They will deal with this as a family and in co-operation with the police."
The family were not willing to talk further about the tragedy.