Shocking bodycam footage of the moment police discovered a dismembered body in a suitcase has been released.
The remains were that of Phoenix Netts, 28, who had been brutally murdered and cut up with a circular saw by her housemate, Gareeca Gordon. Gordon, also 28, stabbed Ms Netts four times, causing fatal injuries, before dismembering her body and trying to hide it last year.
In footage released by police, an officer can be heard reacting with “what the f***” as he makes the grim find while they questioned an increasingly irate Gordon by the side of the road. She was arrested at the scene and investigators soon unravelled her web of lies which also included how Gordon had set about deceiving Ms Netts’ friends and family through text messages, emails and voice messages that she was still alive and had moved to London.
Gordon was arrested by police near Coleford in the Forest of Dean at about 11pm on May 12 last year, with officers from Gloucestershire Police finding her beside a quarry with two suitcases found to contain the remains of Ms Netts. Opening the case for the prosecution, Andrew Smith QC said Ms Netts had told a friend in February that Gordon had “demanded sex with her” and became “aggressive” when she had said no.
On April 7, Ms Netts sent a text message to a friend stating: “There’s a girl here who keeps asking me to be sexual. I think I’m going to move back to London. It’s scaring me lol.” The last known contact Ms Netts had was a phone call with a friend in the early hours of April 16. He attempted to ring her back that afternoon but did not get through.
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Her phone was then used to make internet searches including “how to fix punctured lung”, “internal bleeding” and “can someone recover from getting stabbed” between 1.04pm and 3.07pm that day, the court heard. A post-mortem examination found Ms Netts had suffered four stab wounds to the front of her torso but would not have died had she received prompt medical attention.
Following the murder, Gordon purchased a circular saw on Gumtree for £45 and it was delivered to the property shortly before 11am on April 17. Mr Smith said the post-mortem examination found the saw was used to dismember the body of Ms Netts when it was either clothed or partially clothed.
“Dismemberment took place at five different locations of the body, dividing the body into six parts,” he told the court. The court heard Gordon made a number of trips to the Forest of Dean and attempted to burn the remains of Ms Netts in woodland there.
Bristol Crown Court heard the family of Phoenix Netts had been deeply affected by her death.
Mr Smith, referring to victim personal statements from Ms Netts’ mother and father, said: “Both statements speak of the profound, understandable and enduring loss experienced through the loss of a much loved daughter with whom they expected to share the next chapter of her life.”
He told the court that the pain experienced by the family was “exacerbated by the knowledge of the manner of her death and the defendant impersonating her”. Her father Mark Netts said in his statement: “Our lives have been irreversibly changed and the anguish is indescribable.”
The court heard her mother, Saskia, described herself as “forever devastated, forever empty”.
Detective Chief Inspector John Turner, who led the initial investigation in Gloucestershire, described Gordon as “evil”.
He said: “This has been an extremely distressing investigation which not only impacted the officers who first attended the scene, but also all of those who have been involved in the complex case since that day. The officers who attended that night were presented with a set of truly horrific circumstances and if it wasn’t for their inquisitive nature I believe we may not have ever found Phoenix’s body. As the investigation unfolded it became clear that Gordon had come up with an elaborate plan in order to try and hide her abhorrent actions. She is truly the most callous, calculating and evil person I have ever dealt with.
“This was a painstaking case with meticulous work from both forces which resulted in Gordon pleading guilty, saving Phoenix’s family further distress of hearing the case in court. I would like to thank my colleagues in both forces for their determination and hard work throughout – their tenacity has ensured Gordon is behind bars for her horrific and heartless crimes.”
Gareeca Gordon has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years and six months.