The parents of student Libby Squire have remembered their “beautiful, caring, wonderful girl” after a butcher was found guilty of raping and murdering the 21-year-old.
Pawel Relowicz, 26, showed no emotion as he was convicted by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court after 28 hours of deliberations.
Ms Squire’s parents, Lisa and Russ, attended the whole of the four-week trial, hearing how Relowicz raped their daughter on a playing field in Hull before dumping her in the River Hull on February 1 2019.
Mr and Mrs Squire cried and held hands in the public gallery after waiting a week for the jury to return its verdicts.
Speaking outside court on Thursday, with her husband by her side, Mrs Squire said: “As a family, today’s verdict changes nothing for us.
“There is no closure. We don’t get to have Libby back. Our lives don’t revert back to normal.
“Libby will always be with us and we are all so proud of our beautiful, caring, wonderful girl.
“And although she has been physically taken from us, the memories we have and the love we share will never be taken.”
Hull University student Ms Squire went missing after a night out and her body was found almost seven weeks later in the Humber Estuary.
Relowicz 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.
The judge, Mrs Justice Lambert, said he will be sentenced on Friday.
Married father-of-two Relowicz picked up the second year philosophy student as she wandered around the Beverley Road area of Hull in a confused, upset and drunken state in freezing conditions.
The jury heard a mass of circumstantial evidence linking Relowicz to Ms Squire’s disappearance, despite pathologists being unable to determine how she died.
The court was told she Ms Squire had been out with friends, but was so drunk she was refused entry to a club.
Her friends paid a taxi driver to take her home but, instead of going into her shared student house, Ms Squire wandered in a drunken state – falling over in the snow and refusing offers of help from passers-by, until she encountered Relowicz.
He told the jury he did not kill her and said he had consensual sex with her in Oak Road.
The defendant 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, 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”.
A pathologist told the court he could not determine the cause of Ms Squire’s death due to the amount of time she had been in the water.
Detective Superintendent Martin Smalley, from Humberside Police, 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.
“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.”
In a statement after the verdicts, Gerry Wareham, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Relowicz robbed a young and vibrant woman of her life and her future. His actions have left her family and friends devastated.
“Relowicz invented a web of lies to explain his actions that night, insisting throughout that he had tried to help Libby find her way home.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being a good Samaritan, Relowicz preyed upon her, he took advantage of her vulnerable and distressed state and then he raped and murdered her.”