Libby Squire: Student 'screamed and scratched attacker in the face' before being murdered and dumped in river, court told

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·4-min read
Pawel Relowicz is accused of raping and murdering student Libby Squire. (PA/Elizabeth Cook/Humberside Police)
Pawel Relowicz is accused of raping and murdering student Libby Squire. (PA/Elizabeth Cook/Humberside Police)

A Hull student who was allegedly raped, murdered and then left in a river screamed and scratched at her accused killer’s face, a court has heard.

Polish butcher Pawel Relowicz, 26, was “on patrol, looking for an opportunity” before coming across Libby Squire on the freezing-cold night of 31 January, 2019, prosecutors said.

Jurors were told on Wednesday that he had pleaded guilty to sexually motivated crimes and wanted to subject a victim to his “uncontrollable sexual urges” as he prowled Hull’s streets.

He denies both rape and murder.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the Hull University philosophy student had been refused entry to The Welly nightclub for appearing drunk and friends put her in a taxi home.

However, Squire, 21, walked away from her front door and eventually came into contact with Relowicz.

The prosecution said she was drunk, “likely hypothermic” on a freezing night and in “deep distress” after losing her house keys.

An entrance to Oak Road Playing Fields in Hull, where the prosecution says Libby Squire was raped and murdered two years ago. (Google Maps)
An entrance to Oak Road Playing Fields in Hull, where the prosecution says Libby Squire was raped and murdered two years ago. (Google Maps)

Jurors have heard Relowicz drove her to Oak Road Playing Fields, which he was familiar with, raped and murdered her and then put her dead or dying body in the River Hull.

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, said: “Her screams, and the scratches that she clearly managed to land on the face of the defendant as she fought him off, are just part of the evidence that establishes that she was raped by a man whose entire motivation for coming into contact with her that night was to take her away from safety to a remote area well known to him and there to subject her to his uncontrollable sexual urges.

“His very purpose in prowling the streets was in order to commit opportunistic sexual offences and the rape of Libby was just such an offence.

“His purpose, his sole purpose, was to rape her and to use whatever force was necessary to achieve that end, to silence her screams and to escape detection.”

Libby Squire came into contact with Relowicz before her death, jurors have bee told. (PA/Humberside Police)
Libby Squire came into contact with Relowicz before her death, jurors have been told. (PA/Humberside Police)

Previously, Wright said the defendant, who is originally from Poland, had been “cruising around the student area” in Hull, “effectively on patrol, looking for an opportunity to present itself to him”.

The butcher, who worked in Malton, North Yorkshire, and lived with his wife and two children in Hull, had pleaded guilty to nine sexually motivated offences in the months before Squire died, including voyeurism, jurors were told on Wednesday.

Wright said Relowicz was a man “driven to commit sexually motivated offences against young women” and “looking for an opportunity to offend... in a state of heightened arousal”.

Jurors saw CCTV that the prosecution said shows the defendant “effectively stalks” Squire before he “darts” across the street and “intercepts” her.

Minutes later, Relowicz drove away with Squire in his car, taking her to the playing field, where they both got out. He returned alone seven and a half minutes later.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Pawel Relowicz (2nd right), who denies raping and murdering Libby Squire, appearing at Sheffield Crown Court.
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Pawel Relowicz (2nd right), who denies raping and murdering Libby Squire, appearing at Sheffield Crown Court.

A resident, Sam Alford, who lived nearby, heard screams before seeing a man run away into fields.

Wright QC said: “They were distant screams but they were loud screams.

“Mr Alford recalled them as frantic screams that had urgency and had depth.

“There were gaps between them and there were several of them.”

Relowicz returned home at about 12.23am but went back to the playing field two hours later, which Wright said was “inevitably linked to Libby and what he had done to her”.

Relowicz returned to “cruising around the streets of the student area” and is seen on CCTV parking his car before getting out and appearing to masturbate in the street, the court heard.

Squire disappeared in February 2019. (PA/Humberside Police)
Squire disappeared in February 2019. (PA/Humberside Police)

He was later seen walking up and down a road “for no apparent reason and exhibiting some strange behaviour”, Wright said.

The prosecution has told jurors that Relowicz put her “dead or dying” body into the river that bordered the playing field.

Squire’s body then drifted until being spotted in the Humber Estuary by a fishing boat skipper on 20 March.

A postmortem could not establish how Squire died but sperm cells found in a swab from her vagina matched Relowicz’s DNA, jurors were told.

She was “undoubtedly hypothermic” and would have been “very vulnerable and have a much reduced ability to defend herself”, a critical care doctor concluded.

Relowicz was arrested on 6 February after his car was identified from CCTV footage, and he told police that two scratches to his face and a mark on his chest were sustained while he played with his son, the court heard.

He then offered “differing accounts” to police and friends about what happened on 31 January, telling officers he offered Squire a lift home and stopped at the fields because she felt sick and she walked off, Wright said.

The defendant told police he went out to look for her but could not see her.

The trial continues.

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