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Woman to serve at least 23 years for murdering and dismembering friend


By PA News

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A woman has been jailed for at least 23 years for murdering her friend and dismembering her body after demanding a sexual relationship.

Gareeca Gordon, 28, stabbed Phoenix Netts, also 28, at the property where they both lived in Birmingham on April 16 last year.

Bristol Crown Court heard Gordon stabbed Ms Netts four times, causing fatal injuries, before dismembering her body with a circular saw.

After killing Ms Netts, Gordon set about deceiving her friends and family through text messages, emails and voice messages that she was still alive and had moved to London.

Gordon was arrested near Coleford in the Forest of Dean at about 11pm on May 12 last year, with officers finding her beside a quarry with two suitcases found to contain the remains of Ms Netts.

The defendant had previously pleaded guilty to Ms Netts’s murder days before she was due to stand trial.

On Tuesday she was jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years and six months at the same court.

Gareeca Gordon (Gloucestershire Constabulary/PA)
Gareeca Gordon (Gloucestershire Constabulary/PA)

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 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.”

Mr Smith told Bristol Crown Court Gordon made a call to the Samaritans on April 11, in which she appeared “tipsy”.

“The clear focus of the call was Ms Gordon describing that she liked another woman and wanting to have sex with her,” Mr Smith said.

“At one stage Ms Gordon said either that her loins were warming up or were hot.”

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.

Her phone was 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.

Mr Smith said: “The precise time which the stab injuries were caused is not known.”

He told the court that another woman living in the shared accommodation with Ms Netts and Gordon heard noises of drilling and banging, as well as shouts of “help me, help me”, on April 16.

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.

Phoenix Netts (Family/PA)
Phoenix Netts (Family/PA)

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.

Police officers attending reports of a car driving in the area during the coronavirus lockdown on May 12 last year discovered Gordon with two suitcases.

She was arrested on suspicion of murder after one officer opened a suitcase and saw a partially burned torso.

Forensic examinations of Ms Netts’ room found the bed, mattress, carpet and underlay had been removed but blood staining was found in the living area, kitchen and shower, Mr Smith said.

The circular saw used to dismember the body of Ms Netts was discovered in Gordon’s room.

Mr Smith said “handwritten plans and notes concerned with her removing the body from Coleford and moving it to Wales to burn further” were also found in the room.

Bristol Crown Court heard the family of Phoenix Netts have 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”.

Bristol Crown Court heard Gordon used the mobile phone of Ms Netts to contact her friends and family, claiming she was safe and well, for weeks after the murder.

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”.


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