THE killer of a Polish woman battered more than 20 times over the head before being set alight remains on the run almost a year after her horrific death, an inquest has heard.

Beata Bryl, 23, was last seen alive at Leytonstone Tube station on July 28 last year. She is thought to have been staying with friends in the area at the time.

Her badly burnt body was discovered the next day in woods 50 miles away near Hedsor Lane in Wooburn Green, Bucks. She had been doused in petrol after being battered.

It took detectives more than a month to identify her body due to the extent of her burns.

At an inquest last week, Amersham Coroner Richard Hulet said she had died as a result of a "murderous and ferocious" attack.

Pathologist Dr Kenneth Shorrock said: "The body had 21 lacerations on the scalp. These were about two inches long and they all had a very distinctive pattern.

"They had all been caused by an implement that had a threaded screw-type pattern on it."

A verdict of unlawful killing was recorded.

At a press conference following the inquest, Thames Valley Police Det Insp Colin Seaton said: "In terms of an attack that has caused death, this certainly is the most violent I have seen.

"We would like to make a renewed appeal to the public for any information and remind people there is a 10,000 reward."

The murder featured in a BBC Crimewatch programme in March. New lines of inquiry had been investigated but none has led to anyone being charged.

He said 13 people have been arrested so far but did not believe the killer was among them.

Ms Bryl, who was a contestant in a Polish teen beauty pageant in 2000, came to England in 2003 with a boyfriend.

Police said her life had spiralled downhill shortly before her death and she showed signs of suffering mental illness.

A statement read out from her mother Maria said: "My daughter planned her future here and I didn't know her journey would end so tragically.

"There is so much pain and grief in my heart from losing my child. I don't think it will go away for the rest of my life."

Anybody with information should contact police on 0845 8505 505 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.