Butcher 'patrolled streets looking for victims before he raped young student and dumped body in river', Sheffield court is told

A butcher patrolled the streets looking for victims before he raped a vulnerable 21-year-old student and then dumped her body into a river as she was dead or dying, a court heard.

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 12:54 pm

Pawel Relowicz, 26, is accused of driving Libby Squire to remote playing fields where he sexually assaulted her before callously discarding her body into the freezing cold water.

Philosophy student Libby vanished on February 1, 2019, after a night out with pals, sparking a major police and public search.

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Libby Squire.

Her body was recovered from the Humber Estuary in Grimsby almost seven weeks later.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that Libby had been turned away from the Welly nightclub on January 31 for being too drunk and was last seen just after midnight.

Prosecutors allege Relowicz, who lived a short distance from Libby's house with his wife and two children, came across her and took advantage of her "extremely vulnerable" state.

Richard Wright QC told the court Relowicz drove her to nearby playing fields which bordered the river in his silver Vauxhall Astra where he allegedly raped and killed her.

He said: "The defendant was well familiar with that remote spot and no doubt chose it so that he would not be disturbed.

"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 the 20th March."

The court heard Libby, originally from High Wycombe, Bucks., lived in a shared house with three university pals.

Mr Wright said the friends were enjoying a night out when Libby was refused entry to the club and her pals put her in a taxi home and paid for it in advance.

The court heard the taxi driver thought she seemed "reasonably alert" and told him she was ok.

However, when she got out of the taxi, Libby wandered off away from her house.

Mr Wright said passers-by tried to help Libby but she became verbally aggressive and they gave up.

Mr Wright told the court that at the same time, CCTV footage showed sordid Relowicz "patrolling the streets" when Libby inadvertently started into his path.

He said: "Even before the defendant met Libby, we will invite you to conclude that he was cruising around this area of Hull, a popular student area.

"We suggest that he was effectively on patrol, looking for an opportunity to present itself to him.

"On this evening he was supposedly signed off work sick by his doctor and off ill-health.

"He had a wife and two young children sitting at home, but for some reason, he was not at home with then, he was cruising around that student area in his car."

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of Relowicz's car driving towards Oak Road, where he allegedly raped and killed Libby, at around 9.15pm - three hours before she disappeared.

Mr Wright said: "Before he had seen Libby that night, it proves that he was extremely familiar with that area, that it was a place well known to him to be quiet and remote."

Relowicz, who appeared in the dock wearing a navy blue suit and a green face mask and flanked by three prison officers, 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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