Butcher Pawel Relowicz has been found guilty of the rape and murder of 21-year-old Hull University student Libby Squire.
A jury of seven women and five men unanimously found Relowicz, 26, guilty of rape, while a majority verdict of 11 jurors to one was accepted by the judge for the charge of murder.
Squire’s parents held hands and wept as the verdict was read out while they sat in the public gallery. Relowicz, who will be sentenced on Friday, showed no emotion.
The student’s mother, Lisa Squire, said his conviction “changes nothing for us – there is no closure.”
Squire, a philosophy student, vanished after a night out on January 31, 2019. Her body was found nearly seven weeks later in the Humber Estuary on March 20. A pathologist told the court he could not determine the cause of her death due to the amount of time she had been in the water.
In a statement, Gerry Wareham, of the CPS, said: “Relowicz robbed a young and vibrant woman of her life and her future. His actions have left her family and friends devastated.
“Relowicz invented a web of lies to explain his actions that night, insisting throughout that he had tried to help Libby find her way home.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being a good Samaritan, Relowicz preyed upon her, he took advantage of her vulnerable and distressed state, and then he raped and murdered her.
“I cannot begin to imagine the suffering Libby’s family are enduring. I can only hope that today’s verdict can bring them some measure of comfort. Our thoughts remain with them.”
Relowicz, a married father-of-two, told Sheffield Crown Court during the three-week trial that he “only wanted to help” when he crossed paths with Squire, who he found drunk and distressed in the street after being refused entry to a nightclub.
He said he offered her a lift home but stopped the car near some playing fields because he thought she was going to be sick. He told the jury the pair had consensual sex and that when arrested five days later he failed to tell police because he didn’t want his wife to know he had cheated on her.
The prosecution argued the butcher, who in the 18 months before Squire’s disappearance had carried out a series of sexually-motivated offences, including voyeurism, masturbating in the street and stealing sex toys and underwear from women’s homes, had been deliberately prowling the area, looking for an opportunity to commit a sexual offence against a vulnerable young woman.
He told the jury he left Squire alive on Oak Road to walk home and denied raping and murdering her.
Timeline of events
– Libby Squire left her student home at Wellesley Avenue with friends at about 8.30pm on January 31 and they walked to another student house on Cromer Street.
– They left Cromer Street at about 11pm to walk to The Welly nightclub, at the junction of Wellington Lane and Beverley Road, where they arrived at 11.20pm.
– Squire was refused entry to the The Welly and was put in a taxi by her friends just before 11.30pm.
– The taxi dropped her in Wellesley Avenue but she did not go to her nearby house. She instead set off towards Beverley Road but fell over in the street.
– She went into another house on Wellesley Avenue after the occupants heard her crying. She said she wanted to go home but set off towards Beverley Road, dropping her keys outside the house she had left.
– Squire was approached by a woman who tried to help her outside the former convent at the Endsleigh Centre, on Beverley Road.
– She was approached by two men who tried to help her as she lay in the snow near the junction of Haworth Road and Beverley Road. They were there from 11.40pm to 11.49pm.
– Another woman tried to help her as she sat on the floor near a bus stop close to the same junction and a supermarket manager spotted her in the same location.
– Relowicz’s Vauxhall Astra arrived at the end of Haworth Street at 11.57pm. The defendant got out of the car, crossed the road to Beresford Avenue and tracked Squire as she walked back up Beverley Road.
– They interacted outside the Endsleigh Centre and entered the grounds before walking back to the car at the end of Haworth Street.
– Relowicz drove off from Haworth Street at 12.08am with Squire in the car.
– The car arrived at Oak Road playing fields at 12.11am.
– A man living in the house at the entrance to the playing fields woke at 12.14am and “after a period that he thought was a couple of minutes” heard a woman screaming in the park. The man then saw a young man running from the park “perhaps a few minutes after the last scream”.
– At 12.19am, CCTV captured Relowicz’s indicators flashing as he unlocks his car.
– Relowicz arrived home in Raglan Street at 12.23am.
– He left home again at 2.22am and drove back to Oak Road playing fields, arriving at 2.25am. He stayed for a little over four minutes.
– Relowicz then drove around, arriving in Alexandra Road at 2.51am, walking over Newlands Avenue and masturbating in the street.
– He arrived back at Raglan Street but then walked back to Newland Avenue where he is captured “walking up and down the road in that area for no apparent reason and exhibiting some strange behaviour”.
– The prosecution alleged that Relowicz raped and murdered Squire at Oak Road playing fields after arriving at 12.11am. They say he put her dead or dying into the River Hull, which runs along the north east of the park. They say this could have been at the 12.11am visit or the later one at 2.25am.
– Squire’s body was found in the Humber Estuary, off Spurn Point, on March 20.