Libby Squire: Police confirm body found in Humber Estuary is missing student

Jack Hardy
Libby Squire disappeared on January 31 - PA

A body found floating near the mouth of the Humber Estuary has been confirmed as that of Libby Squire, the missing university student.

The 21-year-old vanished suddenly after travelling home on her own from a night out with friends in Hull, where she had been studying as an undergraduate, on February 1.

Seven weeks of uncertainty about her fate began coming to an end on Wednesday, when, at around 2.30pm, the coastguard spotted what appeared to be human remains and alerted the RNLI. 

In a grim twist, investigators were not immediately able to establish the gender of the body due to decomposition.

An initial examination by the coroner’s office in nearby Cleethorpes concluded the remains were likely female and they were moved to Hull for a full post-mortem examination.

Formal identification late on Thursday night confirmed her family’s worst fears. 

It brings the first semblance of clarity to a mystery that hung heavy over the East Yorkshire city - and all who knew the student - since she disappeared without a trace. 

Authorities waiting next to a blue tarpaulin at Grimsby docks Credit: MEN Media

Police had been officially treating the case as a missing person inquiry, but sources told The Daily Telegraph that detectives believe she was abducted near her university home.

Detective superintendent Martin Smalling said: “A post-mortem examination commenced this afternoon and is continuing to be carried out this evening, however formal identification has now taken place and we can confirm the body recovered is that of missing woman Libby Squire.

“Libby’s family have been informed and are receiving support from specially trained officers. We would ask their privacy is please respected at this incredibly distressing time.”

The vice chancellor of the University of Hull, Susan Lea, said on Wednesday night the student community was "absolutely devastated" by the loss of Miss Squire.

"As a close-knit University community of staff and students, we are all absolutely devastated by the loss of our student, Libby Squire," she said.

"Our hearts go out to Libby's family and friends at this incredibly difficult time and we will continue to give them our full support.

"We have been incredibly moved by the way staff, students, Humberside Police and the local community have all come together over the past few weeks.

"The kindness and care everyone has shown towards each other has been overwhelming, as has everyone's commitment to finding Libby since she went missing."

Specialist search teams had spent weeks scouring the River Hull and the Beverley and Barmston Drain close to where Miss Squire lived to establish if she had ended up in the water.

The River Hull, which flows into the tidal Humber Estuary, wraps around the edge of the Oak Road playing fields around 300 yards from Miss Squire’s university address.

Miss Squire, a second-year philosophy and religion student originally from High Wycombe, Bucks, had been put in a taxi by her friends after she was turned away from the city’s Welly club for being too drunk late on January 31.

For reasons that are unclear, she failed to enter her house on Wellesley Avenue once dropped off - instead walking to sit on a nearby bench until the early minutes of February 1.

Police fear CCTV from a nearby alleyway captured the moment she climbed into a car at 12.09am, before being driven away. It was the last time she was seen alive.

Pawel Relowicz, a Polish butcher who lived a short drive from the student’s street, was arrested on suspicion of her abduction and remains under investigation. He is currently remanded in custody after being charged with a string of unrelated offences. 

Last week, Miss Squire’s mother, Lisa, released a poignant statement to mark six weeks since her daughter's disappearance.

She said: “As a family, we are really struggling. The whole family miss Libby beyond belief. 

“Libby’s disappearance is having a big effect on all of us."

Det Supt Smalley added: "We will provide updates as and when we can as to the progress of the investigation, which has been continuous since Libby’s disappearance and remains ongoing.  

“Our priority is to support Libby’s family and give them the answers they desperately need.”

The Hull Community Church on Newland Road changed its profile picture on Facebook to one paying tribute to Miss Squire.

Posts on the page read: "We are devastated at the news of Libby Squire. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family at this horrendous time.

"We have taken Libby to our hearts, and she will never be forgotten by us here in Hull.

"We have laid white tulips for Libby on the bench where she was last seen - only to find that others have come too to pour out their grief and send messages of love."

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