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Last Updated: Friday, 10 February 2006, 16:58 GMT
Rapist 'strong suspect' in murder
Clive Hayes
Clive Hayes was released 23 years into a life sentence
A triple child rapist is "strongly suspected" of killing a Polish care worker, an inquest has heard.

Police believe Clive Hayes, 54, is responsible for the death of Karolina Mikolajewska, 20, whose body was found in his flat near Bristol last month.

Detectives are investigating whether he later died when his car crashed into a shop and burst into flames.

An inquest into Miss Mikolajewska's death was opened and adjourned at Flax Bourton Coroners' Court on Friday.

Coroner's officer Andrew Hamilton told the inquest: "The deceased was found in bed. She had suffered serious head injuries. It is strongly believed her death was caused by Clive Steven Hayes who is sought by the police for the offence."

Miss Mikolajewska, who hoped to train as a doctor, had come to Britain from her native Poland to work and raise money to help support her family, and to pay for her education.

Karolina Mikolajewska
Karolina Mikolajewska came to Britain looking for a better life

Her body was found in Hayes' flat at Wordsworth House, Coniston Road in Patchway on 31 January.

The following day, police named Hayes, who had gone on the run, as their prime suspect, but days later his burning car crashed into a shop in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, and exploded.

Police have so far been unable to confirm whether a body found inside the burnt-out car is that of Hayes.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: "Due to the fire, visual identification of the deceased is impossible. We are having to rely on DNA and dental records, which take time.

"The investigation into the murder is still ongoing."

Hayes was jailed for five years in 1973 after he admitted raping two 14-year-old girls in Leeds.

In 1976, five months after his early release, he was handed a life sentence after being convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl at knifepoint in the city.

He was released on licence from Leyhill Open Prison in Gloucestershire in 1999. A High Court judge is to hold an investigation into why he was let out.

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