Emma Lovell: Teens charged with murdering British woman in Australia - as best friend says she died 'trying to keep her babies safe'

Two teenagers have been charged with murdering a British woman in Australia - as her best friend said she died in a "heroic act, trying to keep her babies safe".

The 17-year-olds appeared in court charged with the murder of Emma Lovell, 41, and the attempted murder of her husband Lee Lovell, 43.

The couple, originally from Ipswich, were attacked on Boxing Day at their home in North Lakes, 30 miles north of Brisbane.

Superintendent John Hallam said the couple were "disturbed inside the dwelling and were defending their house" at 11.30pm when they confronted the teenagers.

Police said the altercation moved to the front yard, where Mrs Lovell was allegedly fatally stabbed in the chest.

Mr Lovell was treated for a non-life threatening stab wound and later said his family was "devastated".

"She was such a beautiful person. We're all just devastated from her loss," he said.

"It's senseless. I don't know what people do it for."

The Lovells have two daughters and had recently shared photographs of the family on the beach on Christmas Day.

They had reportedly been in Australia for more than 10 years.

Christina Lofthouse told Sky News she had recently been down under to visit the family and that they had a "beautiful life".

"It's heartbreaking to think that my best friend took her last breath because somebody decided they needed what was in their house," she said.

"Somebody decided they had the right to walk into their home..."

Speaking about Mr Lovell, she said: "He'll be lost - Emma was his rock, his world. They'd been together since she was 19."

She said the couple's daughters were "incredibly strong" and that she had recently spoken to them on video call.

"I just need to wrap them in my arms because I know that's what Emma would want," she told Sky News.

"Emma would want them to be protected - that's what she died doing. She died protecting them. She died getting those people out of the house so they couldn't get near to them."

Ms Lofthouse said she'd known Emma Lovell since she was 11 and described her as the "best friend you could ever wish for".

Police allege the teenage boys ran off after the stabbings and were found, with the assistance of the dog squad, with two other youths nearby, just before 4am on Tuesday.

The two 17-year-old boys appeared before Brisbane Children's Court on Wednesday charged with one count each of murder, attempted murder and entering a dwelling with intent in company.

They have been denied bail and will next appear in court on 16 January, ABC News in Australia reported.

Meanwhile, another 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy continue to assist police with inquiries.

Police have reportedly confirmed all four minors were previously known to officers.

Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon said the circumstances leading up to the teenagers going to the North Lakes home were still under police investigation.

She told journalists in Australia: "We need to know why the young people were in that street at that particular hour on that particular night and that's under investigation and they're not matters that I'm going to comment on."

A GoFundMe fundraiser set up for the Lovell family had raised just over £26,000 pounds by 7am UK time on Wednesday.