Following a four-and-a-half week trial at Sheffield Crown Court, which began on Tuesday 12 January, a majority jury found 26-year-old Pawel Relowicz of Raglan Street in Hull, guilty of the 2019 rape and murder of then 21-year-old University of Hull student, Libby Squire.
Libby’s disappearance sparked the biggest missing person search Humberside Police had ever seen, with hundreds of officers, as well as other forces, partner agencies and volunteers from the community, coming together to look for her.
Tragically, it was later discovered that, Pawel Relowicz had raped and killed Libby, with her body being discovered in the Humber seven weeks after she was reported missing.https://www.youtube.com/embed/6wwJvC-h2Ok?enablejsapi=1
Detective Superintendent Martin Smalley, Senior Investigating Officer in the case, said: “I would firstly like to wholeheartedly commend Libby’s family for their incredible strength throughout the entire investigation and trial. I can’t comprehend how they must have felt over these past two years.
“I also want to thank all of my colleagues at Humberside Police, our partner agencies and the public who pulled together in their efforts to find Libby and who have supported our investigation from the outset.
“This has been one of the most challenging and emotional cases I’ve led on in my 30 year career as a detective, and I know everyone has felt as deep a personal connection to Libby as I have.
“Whenever anyone is reported missing, especially someone who was vulnerable, as Libby was that night, it prompts a large scale response. The primary focus of our high risk missing people searches is of course to find that person alive, safe and well, as undoubtedly we hope that is the case whenever anyone goes missing.
“We had hundreds of officers from across all teams, including neighbourhood policing teams, patrol teams, specials and student officers, knocking on doors in the local area and gathering as much information from people who knew Libby about where she frequented. We had specialist, trained search officers, alongside other specialist teams such as, dogs and underwater search, searching vast green areas, drains and areas of water. We are grateful to the National Crime Agency who supported us with extra resources, as well as all of the partner agencies and other forces who helped us.
“We were also so grateful for the incredible support from local people who took Libby into their hearts from the outset. Countless numbers of local people were out every single day searching for Libby. It really showed the true spirit of Hull and how much the people of the city care about each other.”
PC Campion describes in more detail here what this operation involved.
Det. Supt. Martin Smalley continues: “A key part of the search, and later the investigation was the piecing together of CCTV imagery showing Libby’s movements that night and subsequently Pawel Relowicz’s too.
“Our teams painstakingly trawled through hundreds and hundreds of hours of CCTV footage, to put together a timeline of events from the moment Libby was refused entry to the nightclub, to when Pawel Relowicz picked her up in his car on Beverley Road and took her to Oak Road Playing Fields; the last moment Libby was seen on CCTV.
“Watching and analysing CCTV footage can be an incredibly difficult and enduring task, even for our experts. It requires being able to concentrate in an extreme level of detail on a screen for hours every single day, looking for the slightest detail that could assist an investigation.
“The search and investigation into Libby’s disappearance were incredibly complex and fast moving. With very limited lines of enquiry, officers acted quickly to proactively identify, locate and apprehend Pawel Relowicz within days of Libby’s disappearance. These efforts have undoubtedly prevented him from going on to commit further offences.
“Although the investigation was challenging, we remained motivated throughout and never gave up looking for Libby.
“From the CCTV imagery and the significant pieces of information provided to us during the investigation, we were able to show just how premeditated this crime was. Pawel Relowicz had been captured prowling streets, particularly the student areas, where he found Libby, and also visiting Oak Road Playing Fields several times, where the offences took place, presumably scoping the area for what he would later do.
“He was arrested on suspicion of a number of burglaries and sexually motivated crimes, including in connection with Libby’s disappearance, just five days after Libby was reported missing.
“Pawel Relowicz was not known to police before the investigation into Libby’s disappearance, and had never been in the police or court system before. A number of these other sexually motivated offences had been reported over the two years leading up to Libby’s disappearance, but some of them only started to be reported as the Libby search unfolded.
“There was no one MO or pattern of offending to the previous offences that would have allowed us to have reasonably made a connection between them all. They were spread out in time, had taken place in an extremely densely populated area and even with DNA and fingerprints available at some of the offence locations, Pawel Relowicz wasn’t in the system so there was no match.
“As soon as he was arrested in the February of 2019, we were able to take his DNA and fingerprints which then showed a match for some of these other crimes. Whilst we continued to investigate Libby’s disappearance further, we secured charges for 13 offences and he was remanded. He then pleaded guilty to nine of these and was sentenced in August 2019.
“There was no doubt in my mind from the moment of Pawel Relowicz’s first arrest that he was responsible for Libby’s disappearance. Of course at that stage in the investigation, we didn’t know exactly what had happened to Libby, but it was clear to me and my team that our investigation would uncover the truth.
“On Thursday 24 October 2019, he was charged in connection with Libby’s rape and murder.
“During the trial, Pawel Relowicz gave a significant number of different accounts of what had happened to Libby and what his interactions with her had been.
“Ultimately, a combination of CCTV, witness testimony, forensic evidence (DNA), Pawel Relowicz’s changing testimony and previous offending history, presented an extremely compelling case. The jury have been able to make their own conclusions from that.
“Finally, I again just want to thank everyone who has helped and supported our investigation over what has been a difficult two years.”
Speaking about the role forensic evidence played in the investigation, Eurofins Senior Forensic Scientist, Nicola Taylor said: “The investigation into the disappearance and death of Libby Squire, alongside historical offences carried out by Pawel Relowicz, was forensically challenging.
“While working closely with Humberside Police I was able to form a clear understanding of the investigative needs and my colleagues and I within Eurofins Forensic Services undertook extensive work to support those needs.
“In utilising a relatively new technique at that time and undertaking case specific experiments to address one of the lines of defence, I am very pleased to say that we obtained key findings that assisted the police and ultimately the court in understanding the sexual nature of the historical offences and the act of rape that preceded the murder of Libby Squire.”
Statement from Libby’s parents
Wishing to share their thoughts on conclusion of the trial, Lisa and Russ Squire said: “Firstly, we would like to thank everybody for their love and support over the past two years. We have really appreciated it.
“Our special thanks go out to the police teams and all the other agencies that have been involved with Libby’s case from the outset through to now.
“As a family today’s verdict changes nothing for us – there is no closure. We don’t get to have Libby back. Our lives do not revert back to normal.
“However, we are pleased that all the hard work and dedication of the police and legal team has been recognised.
“Libby will always be with us. We are so proud of our beautiful, caring, amazingly wonderful girl and although she has been physically taken from us, the memories we have and the love we share can never be taken.”