Libby Squire ‘raped and murdered by serial sex offender prowling for victim’, court told
Written by on 13 January 2021
Hull University undergraduate Libby Squire was raped and murdered by a prowler who had previously targeted students in a string of sex offences, a jury has been told.
Pawel Relowicz, 26, is on trial for the rape and murder of Libby, 21, who had been on a night out with friends in Hull on 31 January 2019.
She was refused entry from a nightclub for being drunk, and was last seen near a bus stop shortly after midnight. Her body was recovered from the River Humber six weeks later.
The jury at Sheffield Crown Court was told that the defendant, a butcher, “found the opportunity he was looking for” when he saw Libby in a distressed state shortly after midnight.
Prosecution barrister Richard Wright QC said: “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.”
Relowicz denies the charges and the jury was told he has claimed he tried to give her a lift home before they had consensual sex and she walked off.
The jury was told CCTV pictures show Libby getting into the defendant’s car, which he then drove to nearby isolated playing fields, and that his DNA was found in her body.
Screams were heard in the area of the playing fields and a man was seen running from the area of the river, Mr Wright said.
When Relowicz was arrested six days after Libby’s disappearance, he had scratches on his face.
The jury was told Relowicz pleaded guilty in August last year to a string of sex offences committed in the 18 months before Libby’s death, and that a bag found in his car after Libby disappeared contained “trophies” he had stolen.
“The defendant had been committing offences in which he would either expose himself to women in public, masturbate at them in the street, watch them through their windows as they changed or had sex or burgled their homes with the purpose of stealing their underwear,” Mr Wright said.
He described Relowicz as a “man who was driven to commit sexually motivated offences against young women and who was undeterred by them seeing him or challenging him”.
He added: “That is why we saw him moving around these streets that night. He was, we suggest, looking for an opportunity to offend.”
Closing his opening statement, Mr Wright said: “In Libby Squire he found the opportunity he was looking for and he went further than he had done before, driving her away, raping her and killing her.”
Relowicz denies both charges and the trial is expected to last four weeks.