A Polish butcher raped and murdered a ‘drunk and vulnerable’ student in an act of sexual violence before putting her body into a river, a court heard today.
Pawel Relowicz, 26, was accused of being ‘effectively on patrol, looking for an opportunity to present itself to him’ before he came across Libby Squire, 21, in Hull.
She was ‘drunk’, ‘likely hypothermic’ and ‘in deep distress’, on a road – and he drove her away from safety to a remote playing field, Sheffield Crown Court was told.
Miss Squire’s body was recovered by a lifeboat around seven weeks later after being spotted in the Humber Estuary by the skipper of a fishing boat.
Relowicz denies raping and murdering the philosophy student.
Pawel Relowicz (left), 26, has been charged with the rape and murder of Libby Squire (right), 21
A court artist’s sketch of Pawel Relowicz (in blue) appearing at Sheffield Crown Court today
Richard Wright QC, opening the case for the prosecution, said Ms Squire had ‘seemingly disappeared’ on the freezing cold night of January 31, 2019 after being refused entry to a nightclub.
He said: ‘She was drunk, she was likely hypothermic, and she was in deep distress.
Libby Squire, 21, died in Hull two years ago
‘She had lost her house keys, she was crying, she had fallen repeatedly to the floor as she tried to walk and she was extremely vulnerable.’
Mr Wright told the jury that some ‘good citizens’ tried to help Ms Squire, but she became agitated and they left her by the roadside.
He said: ‘From there she seemingly vanished. One man knew very well where Libby had gone. That man is the defendant, Pawel Relowicz.
‘He lived with his family in a residential street a short distance from Libby’s home and he had come across her, drunk and vulnerable as she was, on Beverley Road, in Hull.’
Mr Wright told the court that Relowicz drove Ms Squire to nearby playing fields at Oak Road – a ‘remote spot’ that he was familiar with and chose ‘so that he would not be disturbed’.
He said: ‘At Oak Road, having exited his vehicle, we say that Pawel Relowicz raped Libby and that he killed her, causing her death during that act of sexual violence, which culminated in his putting her, dead or dying, into the cold waters of the River Hull that bordered the edge of that playing field.
Prosecuting barrister Richard Wright QC (left) and Relowicz (in blue) at the court today
‘It was from there that Libby’s body travelled into the Humber and then out to sea to be recovered by the lifeboat on March 20.’
Relowicz, seen in a court artist’s sketch at Hull Magistrates’ Court in October 2019
Mr Wright told the jury how Ms Squire had drinks with friends and was said to be in ‘good spirits’, but as they walked to The Welly nightclub, she seemed drunk and she was refused entry.
He said her friends put her into a taxi but, on being dropped near her home she fell and landed face first on the ground and walked ‘away from the safety of her front door’ and towards Beverley Road.
He told the jury that a group of students heard Ms Squire crying and let her in but she left, saying that she wanted to go home.
The barrister said the philosophy student, who would not take her phone with her on a night out because she had smashed too many screens, had dropped her house keys in the garden of this house.
A number of people saw Ms Squire on Beverley Road and were concerned about her condition, describing her as ‘obviously drunk’ and ‘sobbing’, the jury heard.
Miss Squire would not take her phone with her on a night out because she had smashed too many screens, the court heard today
Mr Wright said these included two men who saw Miss Squire lying in the snow and stopped to try to help her but she became verbally aggressive so they drove away.
The court heard that a woman saw Miss Squire sitting on the floor crying and saying that she wanted to go home and a shop manager saw the University of Hull student, shortly after midnight, sitting on the pavement and appearing to shout ‘don’t leave me’ at a car manoeuvring on nearby Haworth Street.
Mr Wright said: ‘Libby was not seen again that evening by any member of the public. She did not return to 32 Wellesley Avenue and would never do so again.’
Mr Wright said CCTV footage showed Miss Squire had come into contact with Relowicz on Beverley Road shortly after she was seen by the last witness.
He said: ‘We will see how the two of them coincide just after midnight on February 1. We will then follow them from there in the defendant’s car to the Oak Road playing fields.
Police cut back undergrowth while investigating the disappearance of Miss Squire in 2019
‘We will never see Libby again in the footage after the defendant took her there and no camera ever picked her up after the defendant had taken her there that night.
‘We will invite you to conclude that is because he raped and killed her there and put her in the river.’
The jury was told that CCTV clips of Relowicz’s silver Vauxhall Astra showed him ‘cruising around the student area’ of Hull and driving to Oak Road on the evening of January 31.
Mr Wright said: ‘These early clips are important because we suggest that they demonstrate what the defendant was about that night.’
He added: ‘We suggest that he was effectively on patrol, looking for an opportunity to present itself to him.’
Police divers search for missing Miss Squire near Beverley Road in Hull in February 2019
Relowicz sat listening to the prosecution opening statement in the glass-fronted dock, flanked by three prison officers.
He was wearing a dark blue suit over a white shirt with a royal blue tie and was sporting a green face mask.
Mr Wright told the court that the defendant, who is is originally from Poland, was living with his wife and two children in Raglan Street, Hull.
He worked as a butcher at Karro Foods, in Malton, North Yorkshire, he said.
Ms Squire’s parents – Lisa and Russ – looked down on proceedings from the public gallery above the jury of five men and seven women.
The trial continues.