Kenneth Craig, 25, carried on stabbing 46-year-old Maria O'Donoghue's body even after she was dead, before dousing himself in petrol and running into a nearby grocer's store.
He set himself ablaze with a lighter, trying to grab hold of the shop manageress as he turned himself into a human torch. He was already dead by the time firefighters arrived and put out the flames, Westminster Coroner's Court, central London, was told.
The inquest heard that Craig let himself into Ms O'Donoghue's flat, in South Kensington, west London, the night before and may have spent the night with her. An autopsy showed she put up a frantic struggle in the attack on 16 June, but was fatally wounded in the neck and heart.
Craig had a criminal record including rape and robbery. Dr William Dolman, the deputy coroner, recorded a verdict of unlawful killing on Ms O'Donoghue and an open verdict on Craig.Reuse content