Witness in Libby Squire murder trial heard screams of ‘desperation’, court hears

Tom Wilkinson, PA
·3 min read

The jury in the trial of a butcher accused of raping and murdering a 21-year-old student has heard a witness describe hearing screams of “desperation” on the night she disappeared.

The prosecution alleges that the Hull resident woke up and saw out of his window the defendant Pawel Relowicz, 26, “moving with purpose” away from the scene.

The Polish-born father of-two, from Raglan Street, Hull, denies murdering and raping 21-year-old philosophy student Libby Squire, who went missing following a night out in February 2019.

Sheffield Crown Court was told witness Sam Alford, whose home overlooks Oak Road playing fields, recalled being woken shortly after midnight.

A couple of minutes after waking, he heard screams, the jury was told.

He said he often heard noise from the park as it was a student area with young people gathering there, so he ignored the first screams.

But the noise was intermittent and he heard more screaming coming from the playing fields.

Mr Alford said: “I could tell they were human, I could tell it was a female scream.

“The screams were enough to make me think ‘what could that be?’

“It was not constant, it was intermittent, that’s what stood out to me.”

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, asked what the screams conveyed to him.

Mr Alford replied: “Like, desperation.”

He said the screaming went on for an estimated four to seven minutes.

After going to the toilet briefly, he looked out of his window, on to a skate park, but could not see anything initially.

Mr Alford said there was a full moon and snow, so the visibility was good, and after a few minutes he saw a man crossing the park.

He told the jury: “There was an urgency about the way he was moving.

“He was moving with a purpose, he didn’t look back once.”

The man was wearing tightly-fitted joggers or jeans, Mr Alford said, and a bomber jacket, and did not look appropriately dressed for the weather that night.

The prosecution allege that Relowicz took Ms Squire to the secluded playing fields after picking her up in his car and that he raped and murdered her there.

Ms Squire – who was a student at the University of Hull but originally from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire – had been refused entry to a nightclub because she was drunk, and had been given offers of help by people on the night she went missing.

The prosecution allege the defendant was “prowling around the student area” looking for an opportunity to commit a sexual offence against a vulnerable young woman.

The prosecution said he put Ms Squire’s body in the River Hull. She was found weeks later in the Humber estuary.

Ms Squire would have been around two-and-a-half times over the legal drink drive limit when she died, jurors were told.

Home Office Pathologist Dr Matt Lyall said toxicology tests showed, allowing for changes occurring after her death, she had 198mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, where the legal driving limit is 80mg.

He told the court sperm cells were recovered from Ms Squire’s body which matched Relowicz’s DNA profile.

He said the cause of death was “unascertained” as a clear determination was impossible after her body had been in water for seven weeks.

Dr Lyall said hypothermia, drowning or asphyxia were all possible, in his conclusion.

The case continues on Friday.