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Shock at 'talented' student's death

A British student bludgeoned to death in Poland has been described as "exceptionally talented" and popular by shocked staff at her university.

The body of privately-educated Catherine Zaks, a second year undergraduate reading history and philosophy of art at the University of Kent, was found lying next to a railway embankment in Krakow.

Local police said British officers were helping them with their investigation.

Dr Grant Pooke, head of history and philosophy of art at the University of Kent, said: "We are in shock here within the School of Arts. Kate was an exceptionally talented and well-liked student in her second year taking a BA Hons degree. She had developed a real gift for journalism and writing, having completed an arts review while in Poland. Our thoughts are with Kate's family and friends."

Some time before her death, 21-year-old Ms Zaks, who had joint British and Polish nationality and lived in Canterbury, posted a picture of herself on her blog in which she is holding what appears to be a fake pistol against her head. On her Facebook page she wrote that she loved "to rock" and loved her horses, adding: "I love my life!"

The former pupil at Buckswood School - an independent school in Guestling, East Sussex, which charges day fees of £3,475 per term - had been staying in a flat with relatives in the picturesque Polish city.

She had been due to return to the UK imminently after working there for a month. She told her relatives on Friday that she was going out to meet someone but her body was found nearby at 5am the next day.

Ms Zak's parents, who live in England, reportedly flew to Poland after hearing of their daughter's death.

Polish prosecutor Mariusz Boron said Ms Zaks was probably killed by blows to the head with a blunt tool before her body was found by a passer-by.

The daughter of Polish parents who left Poland in the 1980s, she was last seen alive leaving a party at a private home in the early hours of Saturday.

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