Lisa Squire is set to face the sexual offender who raped and murdered her 21-year-old eldest daughter Libby in Hull in 2019.
The 26-year-old Polish butcher Pawel Relowicz was convicted of murdering the philosophy student after stumbling upon her when she was out with friends.
Relowicz has consented to meet with Mrs. Squire, which feels against to nature.
She responds, “I understand that he must believe he has control over the situation.” ‘He has committed the most heinous crimes imaginable, and the prospect of meeting the mother of the person he murdered must be extremely challenging.
“He may be a little anxious,” she confesses with understatement and awe-inspiring grace. ‘ It is pretty courageous of him to do so.
“I don’t despise him, I swear. I find rage and hatred to be quite taxing, so I choose to avoid them. It’s difficult enough to navigate life without Libby, and there are days when I don’t even want to care for my other three children, go to work, or walk the dog. I just want to luxuriate in my Libby universe.
Every parent’s worst nightmare: how the death of Lisa Squire’s daughter inspired her to advocate for an end to violence against women and girls
Libby Squires, a 21-year-old Hull philosophy student, was last seen sitting on a park bench early on February 1, 2019, after becoming separated from her friends and being denied admittance to a nightclub.
Pawel Relowicz, a 26-year-old married father of two, had a history of spying on female pupils and was actively seeking a vulnerable victim.
He got her into his car and took her to a nearby park, where he sexually assaulted her before dragging her body into the icy River Hull.
Seven weeks after she was reported missing, her body was found in the estuary of Hull.
Relowicz was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period of 27 years in February of 2017 and is currently incarcerated at the maximum-security HMP Wakefield.
Since Libby’s death, Ms. Squire has fought politicians for stricter restrictions against low-level sex offenders to avoid the commission of more serious crimes.
Mrs. Squire, who also has three adolescent children, has previously advised individuals to report any “small” non-contact crimes to the police.
She stated, “I am aware that Libby was flashed a few weeks or months prior to her death.” In November, after a night out, the incident occurred.
“I’m uncertain of the exact date. She essentially told him to “p**s off” and criticized him.
Oh mum, I gave him a mouthful and told him what a pathetic human being he was, she answered in response to my suggestion that she file a report. However, she did not report it.
Whether or not it was him, that fact now terrifies me immensely.
Lisa stated that she desires early intervention and school-based education regarding flashing and sexual harassment.
Mrs. Squire stated, following the murders of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard, “It is the same with Sabina and Sarah.” It is victim blaming to assert that they are susceptible because they are alone on the street.
We cannot tolerate the murder of our girls on the streets. Women are permitted to go out whenever they choose.
“The only way to stop this is to watch out for one another and to educate our children, especially our males, how to watch out for their sisters and girlfriends,” the author writes.
“Grief can be overwhelming. If I had to fight with hatred on top of all that, it would be an additional layer of s***; it would be too much to bear.’
She states that she wants to know how her daughter passed away. Polish butcher Relowicz, who is currently spending 27 years for his horrible murders, has always disputed his guilt.
When he murdered Libby, he was 24 years old, a married father of two, and a second-year philosophy student at Hull University. Before he murdered Libby, he had committed eight sexual offenses in the preceding 19 months, including voyeurism, outraging public decency, and burglary (he took intimate objects from women’s houses). This should have been a warning sign.
However, he had no criminal history, and the police did not detain him. If they had intervened, might he have been prevented from killing Libby? It is a question that Lisa cannot escape: Such offenses are referred to as “low-level” sexual offenses. Let’s simply refer to them as what they are: sex crimes. And those who commit them should be marked for five years; only then will their crimes be regarded seriously.’
In January 2019, Libby Squire vanished on a night out with university pals in Hull. She attempted to enter a nightclub, but doormen deemed her too intoxicated to be accepted. Her buddies placed her in a cab, paid the fare, and instructed the driver to take her home.
She got hypothermic, bewildered, and emotional after wandering out into the cold, snowy night, maybe to clear her mind, after the driver had dropped her off at her shared student housing. She was in this condition of vulnerability when Relowicz pounced on her.
Her body was immersed in the Humber Estuary for seven weeks, preventing pathologists from determining the cause of her death.
Lisa and her bright and gentle daughter felt like an one person, bound by links of love so strong that even death could not sever them. The mystery of how Libby spent her final hours of life has never been revealed, and this preoccupates Libby’s mother. ‘ The questions I have are simple ones: What transpired with Libby? Was she terrified? Did she request me? I want Libby to know, and I have a feeling she does, that I did everything in my power to determine what transpired.
“There is no possibility of forgiveness, but I can attempt to find some good in this terrible situation. As soon as he answers one question, another will immediately follow. I will always desire to learn more.
“I have no interest in hearing that he is sorry, that he has a problem, or that it was a momentary mistake in judgment. I am curious as to how Libby died. It will be difficult, but not as difficult as living without her. The worst has taken place. Nothing that he could say or do could be worse.
“However, at the moment, my mind is filling in the blanks and wandering down some dark roads.” I wonder: did he torture her? I initially questioned whether she was dead when she entered the water. However, we know she was because of the autopsy. There were no indicators of drowning. Before I saw her body, I wondered, ‘Had he stabbed her?’ I had to look to confirm that he didn’t do it.
“He said in court that when he first encountered her, she was crying, cold, and disoriented from hypothermia, pleading for him to take her home to her mother.” I’m grateful that he confirmed that she would request my presence. She is aware that she is always in my thoughts and that although I was not physically with her that night, my love was there with her.
Lisa continues to use the present tense while speaking of Libby, as if she were a tangible, alive presence. And there is still a connection between mother and daughter.
I still feel the connection. I communicate with her daily: ‘I’ve missed you so much. Why did you die? What occurred?’ I can hear her voice responding, “Mum, it doesn’t matter,” and I have the distinct impression that she is now at peace, content, and never far from us. I do not wish to die sooner because I am confident that we will be reunited after my death.
“How wonderful it is that I will see her again. This was a present from her. And I try not to sink into the depths of grief because I know she would feel guilty if I did; that she is to blame. This is another reason for me to persevere.
“I’m not at all anxious about meeting him. It does not upset my stomach. It gives me hope that I might be able to put a few puzzle pieces together.
It is about paying tribute to Libby. I intend to make every effort to determine what occurred. It is the same as wanting to provide for a living child. This maternal instinct never disappears. You continue to be a mother to your child even after her death.
Lisa, a 52-year-old nurse on a postnatal hospital ward, is married to Russell, a 56-year-old engineer, and their three other children, Beth, 21, Maisy, 16, and Joe, 15, provide hope and comfort. She firmly believes that Relowicz should have received a full-life tariff.
She believes, “If you murder someone, you should lose your freedom for the rest of your life.” ‘He is scheduled to be released in 27 years, but Libby will not return to us at that time. So why should he be let to leave? Now, he displays no remorse. Why will he in the foreseeable future? If released, he will commit the crime again. I have no doubts about that. So long as I have breath, I will ensure that he never escapes from prison.’
Lisa petitioned then-prime minister Boris Johnson about this. When he stated, “There are not enough spaces in prison,” I responded, “Then construct more prisons.” Loss and bereavement have rendered her fearless and uncompromising.
She recalls the heart-stopping terror of that terrible night when Libby disappeared. She was working a night shift at the hospital when she received a call from her daughter’s friend stating, “We can’t find Libby.”
Lisa awaited news in vain and was increasingly terrified: “When her buddy called, I felt immediate worry.” I completed my assigned tasks, maintained my observations, and called her friends. There were still no updates. I called the police and campus security and continued to work.
Then, at 8 a.m., I concluded my shift with a feeling of dread. On my left side, where she typically sat, I experienced the weirdest sensation: a void. I knew she had passed away.
Lisa was tasked with informing Russell, Beth, Maisy, and Joe that Libby had gone missing. Lisa called her parents, who arrived to watch the children after she hadn’t arrived to a lecture by 2.30 p.m. that afternoon. Lisa and Russell left their home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and drove 200 miles to Hull. When we reached the Humber, I exclaimed, ‘She’s in the water!’ while I sobbed the entire journey. I had no doubt she was. I knew she wasn’t returning since she hadn’t texted me, which she did three times a day.
These communications shaped their friendship. Libby would send a “I love you” SMS message. Lisa’s response would be, “I love you more.” Back would come, ‘I believe you’ll discover I love you more,’ to which Lisa would respond, ‘I’m your mother. I believe you will discover I do.
In their conversational discussions, they discussed every detail of Libby’s life, even the spider she had spotted in the bathtub and what she had eaten for morning. She sent me texts about everything. Then stillness ensued. Lisa simply knew.
Nonetheless, she was haunted by the dreadful ambiguity of loss: she was confident that Libby was dead, but she refused to accept that she would never see her again.
I felt bad for not having hope, and despite the fact that I knew she would never return, I still do not feel it.
“I’m scared of the day I suspect she is dead. I always believe she’ll walk through the door and exclaim, “Oh my gosh, Mom!” as I awaken from a particularly terrifying nightmare. They said I was dead, yet I’m still alive. I continue to cling to that.
Lisa reflects on those early days when there was no news of Libby and says, “I felt utterly numb, yet the human brain is remarkable because you keep on.”
The days became weeks. Libby was still not located.
Despite her first belief that her daughter was dead, Lisa’s mind raced in a state of fear.
I was contemplating, “Where is she? Could she have been a victim of human trafficking, abduction, or incarceration? Has she suffered a head injury and lost her memory? Every minute, you have a different thinking.
The police then contacted seven weeks later to report that her body had been recovered in the Humber. Lisa recounts, “You think you’re going to fall to the ground and scream, but I was surprisingly silent.” I told Russell, “They’ve located her.” Does this imply that she is dead? I still didn’t want to believe it.
‘Thereafter, I could not wait to see her. The coroner advised against it. [Forensic examinations were still being conducted.] But I answered, “I’ll be there.” It was a primordial yearning for me.
Because Libby’s body had been immersed for so long, its decomposition was delayed. I would have removed doors from their hinges to reach her. And when I first saw her, she was extremely stunning. Her body was merely a vehicle. I sensed her presence in the space.
Lisa had to wait until September, nine months after Libby’s death, to view her daughter’s body again, this time at the funeral home.
I conversed with her as though she were still living. I petted her head, kissed her face and hands, and then sat with her. If I could have picked her up and brought her home, I would have really wanted to lie next to her and give her a hug.
It seemed appropriate — in fact, a privilege — that I was the first person to see her when she was born and the last person to see her after she died.
I wonder if she harbors any lingering hatred toward Libby’s companions who neglected to accompany her back to her student house that fateful night.
She chooses her words carefully: ‘If I’m being really honest, I was initially extremely sad that she did not take them home with her. However, they placed her in a taxi and believed she would return home safely. They must endure Libby’s death for the remainder of their lives. I do not harbor any anger towards them. Pawel Relowicz is solely accountable for Libby’s passing. But now I tell my children, ‘You go out as a couple, and you return as a pair.’
Dame Diana Johnson, a member of parliament for Hull, is now supporting Lisa and advocating for indecent exposure to be reported and treated seriously by police.
As was the case with Libby Squire in Hull and Sarah Everard in London, Dame Diana told Parliament last year, “We do know that this type of behavior frequently escalates to far more serious criminal activity and murder.”
Baroness Casey of Blackstock, who delivers her final report on Metropolitan Police failures in February, is also anticipated to emphasize this issue.
After the murder of Sarah Everard by police officer Wayne Couzens, who allegedly exposed himself to women four times in the past, a report was commissioned.
Libby’s murder is the subject of a three-part Sky Crime documentary beginning tonight titled Libby, Are You Home Yet? Libby, Are You Home Yet? includes previously unpublished footage showing Relowicz chuckling as he is told he is being arrested for Libby’s rape and murder. In it, we also see CCTV footage of her final, vulnerable steps. We also observe the real concern and affection of her closest pals.
No date has been scheduled for Lisa’s meeting with Relowicz, which has been organized through a restorative justice foundation, and although he has stated that he does not wish to discuss what transpired the night he murdered Libby, Lisa adds, “I will eventually wear him down.” I will continue till I find out.
According to Libby’s mother, she was the type of outgoing, humorous, and loving girl that everyone considered their best friend. She was an exceptional, one-of-a-kind girl who was adored by her siblings.
On January 1 of each year, the family celebrates her birthday with a cake and a party. I buy her a gift each year. Every time we sit down for a family meal, she is seated at the table.
“We erected a bench in her honor on the hill, where I meet her every morning for a chat.
“I am still a mother of four children, and although there are times when I’m really emotional, I try not to feel sorry for myself.
‘I’m not brave. Libby is the source of my strength. She is a remarkable person. I continue to consider her in the present tense.
She removed a dangerous man from the streets and prevented him from murdering other women, therefore saving countless lives. ‘I am extremely proud of her, but she paid the ultimate price for it.’
- Libby, Are You Home Yet? starts at 9pm tonight on Sky Crime.