A Malton butcher accused of raping and murdering a university student “took advantage” of her and bears a “strong moral responsibility” for what happened on the night she died, a court has heard.
Pawel Relowicz “lied and lied and lied” about what happened when he met Libby Squire in Hull on the evening of January 31 2019, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Defence barrister Oliver Saxby QC told the jury in his closing speech the prosecution cannot prove that the 21-year-old student was killed.
He said she may have died in the River Hull in a deliberate act of suicide, after falling in, or in a “cry for help”.
Polish-born Relowicz, 26, who has admitted committing a series of sexually motivated offences in the 18 months before Ms Squire disappeared, has told the court he had consensual sex with the University of Hull philosophy student after offering her a lift home and left her alive.
The prosecution’s case is that the butcher, who worked for Karro Foods, in Malton, North Yorkshire, picked up Ms Squire, who was drunk, upset and hypothermic after being refused entry to a nightclub, and drove her to Oak Road playing fields, where he raped her and put her into the river, either alive, dead or dying.
‘He lied and lied and lied’
On Wednesday, Mr Saxby told the jury: “On his own account, he has taken advantage of a person and a situation. Let there be no question about this.
“Libby Squire is not someone he should have been having sex with, for a whole host of reasons, and she was not someone he should have been leaving on her own in the state she was in.
“As far as Pawel Relowicz is concerned, he bears a responsibility – a moral responsibility, a strong moral responsibility you may think – for what happened.
“You will think little of him for his previous convictions, you will think even less of him, if that’s possible, for the fact he’s responsible for what happened.”
Mr Saxby said married father-of-two Relowicz had lied repeatedly about what happened.
He said: “He has lied and lied and lied. To himself, to his wife, to the police and in court documents.
“There’s no doubt guilty people lie. Of course they do, to get off, to get away with it. That’s what the prosecution contend here: he’s lying, he’s guilty.
“But lying is not the preserve of the guilty. Sometimes those who are not guilty lie.”
‘No evidence’ of murder
The trial has heard that Ms Squire’s body was found in the Humber estuary around seven weeks after she went missing and a post-mortem examination could not determine the cause of death.
Mr Saxby said the evidence does not prove that she was murdered or that Relowicz was responsible and added: “(The prosecution) cannot say how Libby Squire died. They can’t even say she was killed.”
The barrister reminded jurors about Ms Squire’s history of mental health issues, which included deliberate self-harm and suicide attempts, and said she had previously thought of throwing herself in a river.
He said: “Isn’t it something of a coincidence that some six years later, here we are in court with a man on trial for murder, his fate resting on whether it’s possible his victim might have taken her own life by falling into a river, she reckless as to her own safety, a cry for help?”
Mr Saxby read out Relowicz’s previous convictions, which include voyeurism, masturbating in the street and stealing sex toys and underwear from women’s homes.
He said the prosecution’s case was that he was: “A sexual predator. Someone whose conduct was on some sort of frantic upward curve. Someone whose conduct on February 1 2019 culminated in him raping and then murdering Libby Squire.”
Mr Saxby said Relowicz had never had any contact with his victims or attempted to do anything to them and there was nothing to suggest he “got a kick out of” violence, pain or rough sex.
“There’s not a shred of evidence he ever acted in any way even approaching rape and murder,” he told the jury.
Relowicz, of Raglan Street, Hull, denies raping and murdering Ms Squire, who was originally from High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire.
The trial continues.