A neighbour of homicide victim Tania Hadley desperately tried to save the Auckland mum as her car went up in flames.
Hadley was found by emergency services with critical injuries on Friday morning and died at the scene in Mt Roskill. A 29-year-old man has been charged with her murder and appeared in the Auckland District Court today.
Samantha, who had lived next to Hadley on May Rd for 20 years, came out of her house on Friday morning after hearing a commotion outside.
"I yelled to the neighbour 'What's going on? There's a car burning - that's Tania's car'.
"I popped my head over the fence and [another neighbour] said 'she's in a bad way'. He said 'You don't want to see this'."
The flames were about two storeys high, she said.
Samantha said her other neighbour then placed Hadley in a nearby shed and tried to care for her until emergency services arrived.
"As far as he knew she was still alive when he put her in the shed."
Fire services and police arrived soon after, Samantha said.
The man accused of her murder has interim name suppression and is due back in court next week.
Hadley is survived by her son Deon Johnson-Hadley and daughter Ariana Hadley.
Her son-in-law Macau Johnson-Hadley, who is married to Deon, wrote on social media that words could not express their grief at having their hearts broken, and their "rock" taken far too soon.
"Mum was always there to help anyone in any way that she could, be it at work, in life even strangers," he wrote. "Mum should be remembered for the hard-working, always there, kind soul that she was, we miss her so very much and still can't comprehend what has happened."
He said they appreciated all the messages they had received so far, even if they had not had time to reply.
"Your support and love are so very felt and we thank you."
He said a service would be organised soon.
"Fly high our angel, thank you for all you did for us for your job, your friends and family, your role in the world, though times were tough you made a short life something amazing all by yourself, we miss you so very much and wish we could have 1 last moment with you.
"We love you Mum."
Earlier, Ariana wrote on social media that she was devastated by the loss of her "beautiful" mother.
"I love you unconditionally," she said, after publishing a picture of Hadley with herself and her brother as children. "I can't sleep. I've never felt so heartbroken and empty in my life."
A burned-out car was removed from the property by a tow truck.
Police detectives and forensics staff continued working at the scene today.
Family, friends and colleagues, some tearful, have visited the property to pay their respects. Three bouquets of flowers were placed outside the gate.