A university undergraduate was raped and murdered by a Polish butcher who lured her into his car when she was “drunk and vulnerable” on the roadside, a court has heard.

Libby Squire, 21, vanished suddenly after travelling home on her own from a night out with friends in Hull, where she was a student, on the night of Jan 31 last year.

Pawel Relowicz, a father-of-two who lived less than a mile from her student house, went on trial accused of her rape and murder on Tuesday, charges he denies.

On the night of her disappearance, Ms Squire had returned to Hull’s student area after being turned away from a nightclub for being too drunk.

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court that Ms Squire was seen alone on the streets near home on a “freezing cold” night when she was not dressed for the weather.

He said: “She was drunk, she was likely hypothermic, and she was in deep distress. 

“She had lost her house keys, she was crying, she had fallen repeatedly to the floor as she tried to walk and she was extremely vulnerable.”

Several members of the public tried to be “good citizens” and help her, but she had become agitated to the point where they gave up in their efforts, the court heard.

Mr Wright said: “From there she had seemingly vanished.”

The prosecutor said, however, that “one man knew very well where Libby had gone” – Mr Relowicz.

The prosecutor told the court: “He lived with his family in a residential street a short distance from Libby’s home and he had come across her, drunk and vulnerable as she was, on Beverley Road in Hull.

“Pawel Relowicz had not helped Libby home. Instead, once she was inside his vehicle, he drove her away from what would have been that place of safety and to some nearby playing fields at Oak Road.”

The playing fields were said to be a “remote spot” with which the defendant was “well familiar” and he “no doubt chose it so that he would not be disturbed”, jurors were told.

Mr Wright said: “At Oak Road, having exited his vehicle we say that Pawel Relowicz raped Libby and that he killed her, causing her death during that act of sexual violence, which culminated in his putting her, dead or dying, into the cold waters of the River Hull that bordered the edge of that playing field.”

Seven weeks later, the body of Ms Squire was found floating near the mouth of the Humber Estuary. 

The trial, which is being heard by Mrs Justice Lambert and is due to last five weeks, continues.