Libby Squire had vanished after a night out with friends, before her body was recovered almost seven weeks later (Picture: Humberside Police/PA)
A man was patrolling the streets looking for victims when he found a ‘drunk and vulnerable’ student who he raped and murdered, a trial heard.
Libby Squire, 21, was in ‘deep distress’ and ‘likely hypothermic’ when Pawel Relowicz came across her on a road in Hull and drove her to a remote playing field, Sheffield Crown Court was told.
There, the 26-year-old butcher is accused of killing the philosophy student in an act of sexual violence and disposing of her body in a freezing river.
Libby, originally from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, had been in ‘good spirits’ on the evening of January 31, 2019 while on a night out with friends, heard the court.
But she was refused entry to the Welly nightclub at about 11pm because she appeared too drunk.
She was put in a taxi home by her friends, who paid the fare in advance, but after she was dropped off at about 11.30pm she did not enter her home. Libby did not have her phone with her and friends didn’t hear from her again.
A major police and public search was launched, before her body was recovered from the Humber Estuary, in Grimsby, almost seven weeks later.
Libby’s friends said she had been in ‘good spirits’ on the night out (Picture: PA)
Court artist sketch of Pawel Relowicz (2nd right), who denies raping and murdering the student, appearing at Sheffield Crown Court with barrister Richard Wright QC for the prosecution (left) (Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Prosecutors allege Relowicz, who lived close to Libby’s home with his wife and children, was ‘patrolling the streets’ of Hull’s student area in his car when he came across the student and took advantage of her ‘extremely vulnerable’ state.
Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, told the court: ‘She was drunk, she was likely hypothermic, and she was in deep distress.
‘She had lost her house keys, she was crying, she had fallen repeatedly to the floor as she tried to walk and she was extremely vulnerable.’
The prosecution said several witnesses had seen Libby, who was crying and saying she wanted to go home, and were concerned about her condition.
One group of students said they heard a woman crying outside their home and invited Libby inside. She told the group of young women she wanted to go home and left but walked in the wrong direction, the court heard.
Libby was seen by several witnesses sobbing saying she wanted to go home the evening she vanished, heard the court (Picture: PA)
Though no one knew it yet, she had dropped her house keys attached to a pink fluffy key ring, in the front garden of that house, Mr Wright said.
Two men later stopped their car to help Libby who was lying in the snow, but she became verbally aggressive and they left her by the roadside, the court was told. Another woman later saw Libby sitting on the floor near a bus stop crying.
‘From there she seemingly vanished,’ said Mr Wright. ‘One man knew very well where Libby had gone. That man is the defendant, Pawel Relowicz.’
A jury of five men and seven women watched CCTV footage showing Relowicz, originally from Poland, driving around the student area of Hull in his silver Vauxhall Astra on the evening of Libby’s disappearance.
Court artist sketch of Relowicz (Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Mr Wright told the court that Relowicz drove Libby to nearby playing fields at Oak Road – a ‘remote spot’ that he was familiar with and chose ‘so that he would not be disturbed’.
He said: ‘At Oak Road, having exited his vehicle, we say that Pawel Relowicz raped Libby and that he killed her, causing her death during that act of sexual violence, which culminated in his putting her, dead or dying, into the cold waters of the River Hull that bordered the edge of that playing field.
‘It was from there that Libby’s body travelled into the Humber and then out to sea to be recovered by the lifeboat on March 20.’
Relowicz, pleaded not guilty to a count of rape and one of murder.
The trial, expected to last up to five weeks, continues.
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