A jury trying a man accused of raping and murdering a student today watched the moment he ‘intercepts’ her in the street after he ‘identified her as a target’.
Pawel Relowicz, 26, was captured on CCTV as he ‘effectively stalks’ 21-year-old Libby Squire before he ‘darts’ across the road to where she was, the court was told.
The trial at Sheffield Crown Court heard that Polish butcher Relowicz drove away from Haworth Street in Hull with Miss Squire in his car just minutes later.
Pawel Relowicz (left), 26, is on trial over the alleged rape and murder of Libby Squire (right), 21
A court artist’s sketch of Pawel Relowicz (in blue) sitting in Sheffield Crown Court yesterday
Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, previously told the jury of five men and seven women that the defendant took Miss Squire to a remote playing field, where he raped and murdered her before putting her body in the River Hull.
He said Miss Squire – who was drunk and had been refused entry to a nightclub – was ‘extremely vulnerable’ and ‘likely hypothermic’ as she was not dressed for the freezing cold weather.
Libby Squire, 21, died in Hull two years ago
She had walked away from her house on Wellesley Avenue after being dropped off by a taxi and a number of people, some who saw her falling and lying on the floor in the snow, tried to help her, the court heard.
Mr Wright told the jury that father-of-two Relowicz had spent the evening of January 31, 2019, ‘patrolling the streets’ of the student area of Hull ‘looking for an opportunity to present itself to him’.
The prosecutor said Miss Squire ‘inadvertently’ strayed into his path after he parked his silver Vauxhall Astra on Haworth Street.
Describing CCTV footage taken between 11.57pm on January 31 and 12.08am on February 1, 2019, Mr Wright said it showed Relowicz leaving his vehicle, walking past Miss Squire and crossing Beverley Road.
He said: ‘We will invite you to conclude that he had in fact seen Libby and the obviously drunken and distressed condition she was in. He had identified her as a target and his crossing the road was a device, a fiction to make it look like he hadn’t seen her and was just walking on past.’
The barrister told the court that the footage shows Relowicz ‘effectively stalks’ Miss Squire, ‘tracking’ her progress before he ‘darts across the road and intercepts her’.
Prosecuting barrister Richard Wright QC (left) and Relowicz (in blue) at the court yesterday
Jurors watched footage showing the defendant returning to his car for three minutes but going back to Ms Squire after another vehicle leaves the road.
Mr Wright said that, after some ‘toing and froing’ between the two, the philosophy student entered his car and her gold watch was later found with a damaged clasp on the street near where the vehicle had been parked.
Mr Wright said: ‘Whether Libby was forced into the vehicle physically, an act that would, we suggest, not have been difficult given her condition at that point, or whether she was persuaded to enter it, on the promise of some assistance being rendered to her, may never be clear from the CCTV footage alone.’
Ms Squire’s father, Russ, left the public gallery while the clips were played, while her mother, Lisa, held a tissue to her face as she watched.
Miss Squire was drunk and had been refused entry to a nightclub, the court was told today
Relowicz, of Raglan Street, Hull, sat in the dock with three prison officers as the footage was played to the silent courtroom.
The court later heard that Relowicz drove to Oak Road playing fields, where both he and Ms Squire got out of the car, before he returned alone around seven-and-a-half minutes later.
Mr Wright said a resident called Sam Alford, who lived in a house on the edge of the playing field, reported hearing a series of female screams before seeing a man running away.
Police cut back undergrowth while investigating the disappearance of Miss Squire in 2019
Mr Wright said: ‘They were distant screams but they were loud screams. Mr Alford recalled them as frantic screams that had urgency and had depth.
‘There were gaps between them and there were several of them.’
He added: ‘We will invite you to conclude that the screams were Libby’s and that the man then seen running back after the screaming had stopped was the defendant.’
Mr Wright said Relowicz went home but returned to the playing fields around two hours later.
Police divers search for missing Miss Squire near Beverley Road in Hull in February 2019
The prosecutor said he then continued ‘cruising around the streets of the student area in his car’ and was captured on CCTV footage appearing to masturbate in the street.
A used condom matching the defendant’s DNA was later found on the pavement where he had been parked, the court heard.
Relowicz denies raping and murdering Ms Squire, who was originally from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.
The trial continues.