A 26-year-old butcher convicted of raping and murdering Hull University student Libby Squire has been jailed for life with a minimum recommendation that he serve 27 years.
Pawel Relowicz raped the 21-year-old on a playing field in Hull before dumping her in the River Hull. He was convicted by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday.
Squire went missing after a night out on January 31 2019, and her body was found almost seven weeks later in the Humber Estuary.
In her sentencing remarks, Mrs Justice Lambert said: “From the moment you intercepted her… Liberty Squire did not stand a chance”.
She added: “There was a significant degree of planning that night as you patrolled the student area looking for a suitable victim.”
One of the aggravating factors in the rape offence was its location – “a desolate playing field in the perishing cold”, the judge said.
Mrs Justice Lambert, commenting on Relowicz’s decision to put Squire’s dead or dying body in the tidal river, said: “I have no doubt your purpose was to conceal her body and you intended and hoped her body would be washed out to sea and never found.”
It was only by chance that a fisherman found her body weeks later in the Humber Estuary, the judge said.
Father-of-two Relowicz, who was found to have committed a series of terrifying sex offences and is currently serving an eight-and-a-half-year sentence, picked up the second year philosophy student as she wandered in the freezing cold around the Beverley Road area of Hull in a confused, upset and drunken state.
Mrs Justice Lambert called it a “malignant twist of fate” that his path crossed with Squire.
Libby’s mother Lisa Squire told the court: “There are no adequate words that can explain the torture of living without my Libby.
“In any times of trouble she wanted me, her mum. She knew I would do anything in my power to help her.
“Knowing I was not there when she needed me will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Her father Russ 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?”
The jury had heard a mass of circumstantial evidence linking Relowicz to Squire’s disappearance, despite pathologists being unable to determine how she died.
During three weeks of evidence, the court was told how she had been out with friends, but was refused entry to a club for being too drunk.
Her friends paid a taxi driver to take her home but, instead of going into her shared student house, Squire wandered around – falling over in the snow and refusing offers of help from passers-by, until she encountered Relowicz.
Relowicz told the jury he did not kill Squire and said he had consensual sex with her on Oak Road.
The defendant has admitted a series of what his barrister called “utterly disgusting” sexual offences in the months before that night, and he admitted he watched porn and masturbated in the street in the hours after he said he had sex with the student.
Giving evidence through an interpreter, Polish-born Relowicz, of Raglan Street, told the court he was driving around Hull on the evening of Squire’s disappearance because he was “looking for a woman to have easy sex”.
The defendant – who has convictions for outraging public decency, voyeurism and sexually motivated burglaries – said he parked on Haworth Street with the intention of looking through windows and masturbating.
He told the court he left Squire on Oak Road to walk home and she was alive.
A pathologist told the court he could not determine the cause of Squire’s death due to the amount of time she had been in the water.