A wealthy City director was stabbed to death after two youths broke into his multi-million pound Chelsea home.

Legal and General bonds dealer John Monckton, 49, and his wife Homeya were overpowered last night at 30 Upper Cheyne Row. (See pictures below).

He died in hospital and she is recovering from "significant" emergency surgery after suffering "very serious stab injuries", said Det Supt Mark Jackson, who leads the investigation.

Their nine-year-old daughter, who was in the house, called the police.

Mr Monckton was a cousin of Rosa Monckton, close friend of Princess Diana and wife of Daily Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson.

His family said they were "profoundly shocked" by Mr Monckton's murder and the attack on his wife. "Obviously our thoughts are very much with her and her children."

Mr Monckton was an "incredibly gentle and thoughtful man", their statement continued. "Apart from his outstanding career in the City, he also devoted a great deal of his time to charitable works. We are all praying for him."

The barrister and Oxford graduate has worked in the City's financial sector since 1979. He was director at Barclays de Zoete Wedd and Foreign & Colonial before he joined Legal & General in 1996.

The company said he had "a great intellect and was a man of the utmost integrity and kindness".

The statement added: "He had a deep insight into financial markets. He built up a strong team who admired him greatly and will carry on his work." His support, contribution and dry wit will be "greatly missed".

Two male youths forced their way in through the front door at 7.30pm, said Mr Jackson. The couple were stabbed with "sharp implements".

The attackers, described as 5ft3in to 5ft6in tall, fled along Glebe Place towards King's Road.

Mr Jackson said a burglary gone wrong is a "key line of inquiry".

Today streets around the three-storey townhouse were cordoned off as forensic scientists searched for clues. The front entrance to the home was covered in sheeting while detectives were studying it.

A mobile police station was set up close by. Officers have been combing through CCTV footage and making door-to-door enquiries.

Houses in the area sell for over £3 million pounds. Around the corner a plaque marks the former home of Antarctic explorer Robert Scot. Lush gardens and luxury cars line the streets, while residents include the Rolling Stone's bassist Bill Wyman.

"I have got a community in shock," said borough commander Dominic Clout. "This is a tragic, tragic murder."

It was "extraordinary" in an area of "very, very low crime", he added.

Passers-by reacted in disbelief at the news. "There's never any crime here," said a banker who lives just a few blocks away.

Police urged anyone who saw the men running away, or anything suspicious, to call the Hendon incident room on 020 8358 0400 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.