A 26-year-old butcher who raped and murdered university student Libby Squire has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years.
Married father-of-two Pawel Relowicz dumped Ms Squire’s body in the River Hull after raping her on a playing field in the early hours of February 1 2019.
The predator, who admitted that he had been out looking for “easy sex” that night, was convicted by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday after 28 hours of deliberations.
Ms Squire’s parents, Lisa and Russ, attended court and, during the four-week trial, heard how the bacon factory worker from Poland picked up the 21-year-old as she wandered around the Beverley Road area of Hull in a confused, upset and drunken state on a freezing night.
The jury heard a mass of circumstantial evidence linking Relowicz to the philosophy student’s disappearance, despite pathologists being unable to determine how she died because her body had been in the water for almost seven weeks before it was was found in the Humber Estuary.
Ms Squire’s disappearance sparked a huge search involving police and members of the public and Relowicz was arrested after detectives trawled through hours of CCTV and saw that his car had been cruising in the area.
The court heard that Ms Squire had been out with friends on the evening of January 31 2019, but was refused entry to a club because she was drunk.
Her friends paid a taxi driver to take her home but, instead of going into her shared student house, she wandered around, fell over in the snow, and refused offers of help from passers-by, until she encountered Relowicz.
He was to tell police five versions of what happened, and only admitted to having consensual sex with Ms Squire after his DNA was discovered in her body.
He told the jury he did not kill her and said he had consensual sex with her in Oak Road.
He admitted a series of what his barrister called “utterly disgusting” sexual offences in the months before that night, committing acts of voyeurism and stealing intimate items from student homes as trophies.
Giving evidence through an interpreter, Relowicz, of Raglan Street, Hull, told the court he was driving around the city on the evening of Ms Squire’s disappearance because he was “looking for a woman to have easy sex”.
He was found guilty of rape unanimously by a jury of five men and seven women and guilty of murder by a majority of 11 to one.
In a victim statement, Ms Squire’s mother 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.”
Ms Squire’s father 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?”
Richard Wright QC told the court that Relowicz was a sex offender targeting a known student area, looking for victims that night, and Ms Squire was extremely vulnerable owing to her condition.
Relowicz picked her up in his car from a place of relative safety in the street, drove her to a secluded place and raped her, before her putting her dead or dying body in the River Hull, Mr Wright said.
Oliver Saxby QC, defending, commenting on the degree of planning, saying: “There was no doubt he was on the lookout to commit sexual offences, but he was not cruising around to commit rape or a murder.”