A butcher accused of raping and murdering a 21-year-old student from High Wycombe was guilty of “utterly disgusting” sexual offences and could be hated, but there was no evidence he had killed her, his barrister told a jury.

Pawel Relowicz, 26, is on trial for the murder of Hull University student Libby Squire, who disappeared during a night out in February 2019 and whose body was found in the Humber estuary weeks later.

Sheffield Crown Court has been told he picked up Ms Squire, who was drunk and distressed after she had been turned away from a nightclub, while he was “prowling around the student area” looking for an opportunity to commit a sexual offence against a vulnerable young woman.

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The prosecution have said that he drove her in his car to the remote Oak Road playing fields, where he raped and murdered her, before putting her body into the River Hull.

He will claim they had consensual sex at the playing fields and he does not know how she died, the court has heard.

Bucks Free Press: Libby SquireLibby Squire

The jury has been told that after the police arrested the Polish-born defendant, a married father-of-two of Raglan Street, Hull, they found sex toys and women’s underwear that he had stolen after breaking into students’ homes.

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Oliver Saxby QC, defending, told the court: “To say he has a problem barely scratches the surface.

“How he has behaved, what he has done – it is utterly disgusting.

Bucks Free Press: Pawel RelowiczPawel Relowicz

“Let me spell it out: he has violated homes, he has violated the intimate possessions of student girls, he has violated intimate moments...

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“It is, I repeat, disgusting.

“What he did I don’t doubt will have been extremely frightening.

“And you will hate him for it. That’s the reality, being frank.

“Why wouldn’t you?”

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Mr Saxby said the defendant found it difficult to accept he had a problem and had lied to his wife, and to himself.

“Why? Because his behaviour is so gross; and, perhaps, we would say, because – in the context of this case – he feared that if he admitted it, it would count against him,” Mr Saxby said.

The defence barrister said Relowicz’s sexual offences were his only previous convictions.

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In his opening defence speech, Mr Saxby said he will call two witnesses, both students, who heard screams in the early hours of February 1 2019.

Mr Saxby said Relowicz had already returned home at the time the witnesses said they heard the screams, and so he “cannot be guilty of killing Libby Squire”.

Bucks Free Press: Family photo of LibbyFamily photo of Libby

A previous witness who also heard “desperate” screaming, Mr Saxby said, could be explained as Ms Squire being “lost, and disorientated, and confused, and desperate”.

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This was the type of case where the defendant “is left simply saying ‘I didn’t do it, I don’t know what happened, I wasn’t there, I cannot say’,” Mr Saxby said.

The defence barrister said: “That, then, is the backdrop to the defence case – which I am about to commence by calling Mr Relowicz.

“The essentials?

“What this case revolves around is not the offences Mr Relowicz has committed.

ALSO READ: Man 'raped and murdered vulnerable and distressed' student from High Wycombe

“Nor is it the lies he has told – about these offences, about his problem, or about his contact with Libby Squire – how he met her, what happened and so on.

“No doubt, those who are guilty lie.

Bucks Free Press: Libby SquireLibby Squire

“But so, sometimes, in fairness do those who are innocent – for a whole host of reasons including a fear, a childish fear perhaps, that their honest account will not believed.

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“Instead, the case against Mr Relowicz centres on whether there is evidence proving the theory surrounding Libby Squire’s disappearance which the prosecution have advanced at this trial.”

The trial continues.