An “extremely vulnerable” university student was raped and murdered by a 26-year-old butcher “patrolling the streets” looking for an opportunity to present itself to him, a court heard.
Libby Squire “inadvertently strayed into the path” of Pawel Relowicz on the evening of 31 January, 2019, after she had been refused entry to a nightclub in Hull because she appeared to be drunk, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Relowicz, who is originally from Poland and worked as a butcher at Karro Foods in Malton, drove the 21-year-old philosophy student away from safety to a remote playing field. There he raped and murdered her before putting her body into the River Hull, the prosecution said.
A jury of five men and seven women watched CCTV footage showing the defendant driving around the student area of Hull in his silver Vauxhall Astra during the evening of Ms Squire’s disappearance.
Richard Wright QC, opening the case for the prosecution, described Relowicz as “patrolling the streets”.
The jury also saw clips of Ms Squire, a University of Hull student who was originally from High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire, being refused entry to The Welly nightclub after an evening drinking with friends.
The court heard that her friends put her in a taxi home and paid the driver the fare in advance but she did not enter her house on Wellesley Avenue after she was dropped off and instead walked to Beverley Road.
She was in ‘deep distress’
Mr Wright said a group of students let Ms Squire, who would not take her phone with her on nights out, into their home after they heard her crying outside but she left, saying that she wanted to go home, and lost her house keys in their garden.
The jury also saw CCTV and dashcam footage of the student on Beverley Road – where they heard that two men tried to help her for around 10 minutes but left after she became verbally abusive – showing her walking and lying on the floor in the snow.
Mr Wright said: “She was drunk, she was likely hypothermic, and she was in deep distress.
“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.”
He added: “As these clips of Libby are playing, you know that the defendant, as we have just seen in his clips, was circling about the area in his car, with Libby now inadvertently straying into his path.”
Mr Wright said more footage showed that Ms Squire came into contact with Relowicz shortly after midnight on February 1.
He said: “We will then follow them from there in the defendant’s car to the Oak Road playing fields.
“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.”
Put her in the river
The barrister told the jury: “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.”
Ms 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, who lived with his wife and two children on Raglan Street, in Hull, listened to the prosecution opening statement in the glass-fronted dock, flanked by three prison officers.
He wore a dark blue suit over a white shirt, with a royal blue tie, and was sporting a green face mask.
Ms Squire’s parents – Lisa and Russ – looked down on proceedings from the public gallery above the jury.
Relowicz denies raping and murdering Ms Squire.
The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.