Pawel Relowicz jailed for 27 years for rape and murder of Hull University student Libby Squire

Married father-of-two Pawel Relowicz was jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years after being found guilty of her rape and murder. Credit: Humberside Police

A 26-year-old butcher who raped and murdered Hull university student Libby Squire has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years.

Married father-of-two Pawel Relowicz dumped Ms Squire’s body in the River Hull after raping her on a playing field in the early hours of the 1st of February 2019.

The predator, who admitted that he had been out looking for “easy sex” that night, was convicted by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday after 28 hours of deliberations.

Ms Squire’s parents, Lisa and Russ, attended court and, during the four-week trial, heard how the bacon factory worker from Poland picked up the 21-year-old as she wandered around the Beverley Road area of Hull in a confused, upset and drunken state on a freezing night.

Libby Squire’s parents, Russell and Lisa, outside Sheffield Crown Court Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

The jury heard a mass of circumstantial evidence linking Relowicz to the philosophy student’s disappearance, despite pathologists being unable to determine how she died because her body had been in the water for almost seven weeks before it was was found in the Humber Estuary.

Ms Squire’s disappearance sparked a huge search involving police and members of the public and Relowicz was arrested after detectives trawled through hours of CCTV and saw that his car had been cruising in the area.

Libby Squire Credit: Family/PA

The court heard that Ms Squire had been out with friends on the evening of January 31 2019, but was refused entry to a club because she was drunk.

Her friends paid a taxi driver to take her home but, instead of going into her shared student house, she wandered around, fell over in the snow, and refused offers of help from passers-by, until she encountered Relowicz.

He was to tell police five versions of what happened, and only admitted to having consensual sex with Ms Squire after his DNA was discovered in her body.

He told the jury he did not kill her and said he had consensual sex with her in Oak Road.

Police searching near Oak Road playing fields in Hull after Libby Squire disappeared Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

He admitted a series of what his barrister called “utterly disgusting” sexual offences in the months before that night, committing acts of voyeurism and stealing intimate items from student homes as trophies.

Giving evidence through an interpreter, Relowicz, of Raglan Street, Hull, told the court he was driving around the city on the evening of Ms Squire’s disappearance because he was “looking for a woman to have easy sex”.

He was found guilty of rape unanimously by a jury of five men and seven women and guilty of murder by a majority of 11 to one.

In a victim statement, Ms Squire’s mother told the court:

Ms Squire’s father said: “I’ve lost my little girl and I’m heartbroken.

“I struggle to look at her pictures and can no longer watch her video clips, I am afraid to recall her memories because of the pain they bring. How cruel is that?”

Sentencing Pawel Relowicz, Mrs Justice Lambert said he was correctly described as having conducted a "perverted campaign of sexually deviant behaviour" by the judge who dealt with his previous offending of voyeurism, outraging public decency and burglary, which happened over 18 months.

She said: "He also considered you to be potentially a very dangerous individual, again he was correct to do so."

The judge told him that, prior to the murder, "your offending escalated, you grew increasingly emboldened, no doubt you were increasingly confident you would not and could not be caught".

She called it a "malignant twist of fate" that his path crossed with the drunk, confused and upset Libby Squire that night, and that he must have immediately decided she would be his next victim.

The Crown Prosecution Service's chief prosecutor, Gerry Wareham, said the Crown's case was built on painstaking research of CCTV - and  Relowicz's malicious intent on the night ruled out anyone else who could have been involved in Libby Squire's death. 

Richard Wright QC told the court that Relowicz was a sex offender targeting a known student area, looking for victims that night, and Ms Squire was extremely vulnerable owing to her condition.

Relowicz picked her up in his car from a place of relative safety in the street, drove her to a secluded place and raped her, before her putting her dead or dying body in the River Hull, Mr Wright said.

Oliver Saxby QC, defending, commenting on the degree of planning, saying: “There was no doubt he was on the lookout to commit sexual offences, but he was not cruising around to commit rape or a murder.”