Libby Squire verdict: Butcher found guilty of raping and murdering missing student

A butcher has been found guilty of raping and murdering missing student Libby Squire after jurors saw through his “web of lies”.

Predator Pawel Relowicz preyed on the 21-year-old University of Hull student, who was found dead in the Humber Estuary almost seven weeks after she disappeared after a night out.

He targeted Libby, from Bedfordshire, while she was distressed and confused in the street on February 1, 2019, after being turned away from a nightclub for being too drunk.

Father-of-two Relowicz, who was later found to have committed a series of sex offences, picked up the second year philosophy student in his car as he prowled for “easy sex”.

Today Libby’s parents, Lisa and Russ, held hands and cried as they sat in the public gallery overlooking the courtroom waiting for the announcement.

Speaking outside court, Mrs Squire said the conviction of her daughter’s killer “changes nothing for us, there is no closure”.

She said: “As a family, today’s verdict changes nothing for us.

“There is no closure, we don’t get to have Libby back, our lives don’t revert back to normal.”

She added: “Libby will always be with us and we are all so proud of our beautiful, caring, wonderful girl and although she has been physically taken from us, the memories we have, and the love we share, will never be taken.”

Relowicz, originally from Poland, showed no emotion as the verdicts were read out.

Libby’s disappearance sparked a huge search operation as detectives scoured the area to piece together her final movements.

Jurors heard that because of the length of time her body had been in the water, forensics experts were unable to determine how she died.

Libby’s friends had put her in a taxi after she was turned away from the nightclub in Hull, but instead of going into her shared student house, she wandered in a drunken state.

Witnesses said they saw her falling over in the snow and she refused offers of help from passers-by, until she encountered her killer.

During his trial, jurors heard Libby was seen in the Beverley Road area of Hull in a confused, upset and drunken state in freezing conditions in the moments before she vanished.

Numerous witnesses told how they tried to help Libby, whose knee was cut and bleeding after falling in the snow covered streets.

CCTV showed her getting into Relowicz’s car.

The murderer told the jury he did not kill Ms Squire and said he had consensual sex with her on Oak Road.

The murderer previously admitted a series of what his barrister called “utterly disgusting” sexual offences in the months before that night, and he admitted he watched porn and masturbated in the street in the hours after he raped Libby.

During the trial the jury was told that Relowicz spotted Libby and followed her in “the shadows” before he intercepted and got her in his car.

Gerry Wareham, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said after the guilty verdict was delivered: “Relowicz robbed a young and vibrant woman of her life and her future. His actions have left her family and friends devastated.

“Relowicz invented a web of lies to explain his actions that night, insisting throughout that he had tried to help Libby find her way home.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being a good Samaritan, Relowicz preyed upon her, he took advantage of her vulnerable and distressed state and then he raped and murdered her.

“I cannot begin to imagine the suffering Libby’s family are enduring. I can only hope that today’s verdict can bring them some measure of comfort. Our thoughts remain with them.”

During his trial Relowicz claimed he was only trying to ‘help’ Libby get home after finding her crying in the street.

The accused, giving evidence, admitted he had been driving around looking for “easy sex”.

He said he stopped the car in Oak Road playing fields because she was not giving him her address and he thought she was going to be sick.

He admitted to then having sex with “very beautiful” Libby but said it was consensual and he’d left her there “alive and well”.

However, the prosecution refuted his claims, arguing that he had taken her to one of his favourite remote “hotspots” and raped her.

They said Libby was in no condition to consent to sex and would have been unable to run away as she was hypothermic.

The jury were told she would have been ‘very vulnerable to attack’.

Richard Wright QC accused Relowicz of trying to “silence her screams”, by dumping her dying or dead in a frozen river.

Witness, Sam Alford, told of hearing ‘screams of desperation’ for fifteen minutes coming from the park after midnight.

Then, he said, he saw a man running from the scene.

Libby’s body was found almost seven weeks later in the Humber Estuary, by a pleasure boat skipper.

When it was recovered from the water, a “delicate” necklace with the letter L was found still around her neck.

The trial heard how Relowicz had previously admitted nine sexually motivated crimes including voyeurism and masturbating in the street.

They heard how the butcher had broken into homes and stolen underwear and sex toys.

He’d also watched a couple having sex and masturbated over a woman’s glass front door.

In one case he left a condom hanging over a child’s toy.

When police searched his car they found several horror masks in his boot.

In his home they found a book of student accommodation in his desk drawer.

They also found drone footage of Oak Road playing fields.

Relowicz was accused by the prosecution of telling five different versions of what happened and claimed he had “lied and lied” to police and the jury.

They said he had returned home and washed his clothes and had a bath.

He claimed he had not told police about having sex with Libby originally because he did not want his wife to find out as she would leave him.

The accused admitted having ‘a problem’ and a ‘fetish’ of spying on people having sex but denied he had raped or killed Libby.

Richard Wright QC, leading the prosecution team, told Sheffield Crown Court: “It is not possible for the pathologist to determine how Libby died, but it is not necessary for the prosecution to demonstrate any particular mechanism of death in this, or indeed in any other case of murder.

“We say that you can be sure that Pawel Relowicz subjected Libby to unlawful violence at the Oak Road playing fields and that violence caused her death.

“Whether that be by asphyxiation, or by any other means, such as deliberately throwing her into the freezing River Hull in the sure knowledge that she would drown.”

The prosecutor ruled out suicide. He said that, despite Ms Squire having mental health problems, she was in the “best place in her life” and had showed no recent signs of being suicidal.

He also discounted her accidentally falling into the water, pointing out that she was terrified of water and scared of walking in dark places by herself.

And Mr Wright dismissed any suggestion that she was attacked by someone other than Relowicz, saying it would have been an “unholy coincidence”.

Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, said: “Our thoughts today are very much with Libby’s family and friends. Nothing will ever fill the void left in their lives; however, we hope the verdict today brings them a sense of closure.

“What took place in February 2019 deeply affected everyone at the University and those within the local community. Libby made a huge impact during her time at Hull, and will be remembered fondly by all who met her.