GARECCA Gordon murdered her friend Phoenix Netts and tried to hide her body in suitcases close to the Monmouthshire border after trying and failing to have a sexual relationship with her, according to police.

Gordon, 28, stabbed Ms Netts, also 28, to death in the property where they both lived in Birmingham on April 16 last year.

Within 24 hours of the murder, Gordon had ordered a circular saw and began to dismember the body of Ms Netts in the victim’s room.

Detective Superintendent Scott Griffiths, of West Midlands Police’s homicide team, described Gordon’s actions as “calculated”.

South Wales Argus: BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated family file handout photo issued by West Midlands police of 28-year-old Phoenix Netts, whose remains were found in suitcases last year. Gareeca Conita Gordon, 28, has admitted murdering Ms Netts after appearing before

Phoenix Netts

She began using the mobile phone of Ms Netts to contact her family and friends for up to four weeks, telling them she was safe and well.

“Gareeca even went onto the internet and downloaded an audio application which enabled her to edit some voice messages of Phoenix, to send those via social media platforms to a number of people, which confirmed that she was well and that she was alive,” Mr Griffiths said.

“Gareeca then purchased industrial detergents and utilised local rubbish collection companies to take all evidential opportunities from Phoenix’s room, and dispose of them.

“This resulted in us coming across a very cleansed scene and no overt signs that a homicide, let alone a dismemberment of a body, had occurred in the room of Phoenix Netts.”

CCTV footage shows Gordon buying “substantial amounts of detergent” and police searching the room found the carpet, bed and clothing had been taken out.

Gordon disposed of around 15 bags of rubbish from the room and contacted the housing provider, pretending to be Ms Netts, asking for all other property to be removed.

The killer used multiple forms of transport to move the body of Ms Netts – initially in two suitcases – from Birmingham to a location in West Bromwich.

She stored the body there for a “number of days” before hiring a taxi to transport the suitcases to the Forest of Dean and the Coleford area of Gloucestershire.

Mr Griffiths described how the remains of Ms Netts were stored within the Forest of Dean for weeks, with Gordon taking both trains and taxis between there and Birmingham.


Investigations have established that Gordon also stayed in Coleford for a number of days through that period, including living rough for a period of time.

On April 27, she went to Coleford police station and asked for help charging a mobile phone and returning back to Birmingham.

Gordon purchased a petrol can from a station in Birmingham on May 10, which she filled with petrol on May 12 and travelled to Coleford with it.

"What we believe is on that evening, she then utilised that petrol to attempt to set fire to the body of Phoenix Netts and destroy it,” Mr Griffiths said.

“That failed. She then put the body parts back into the suitcases and then made arrangements for her to be picked up and potentially taken to an area of Wales.

“We feel that was going to be the final resting place of Phoenix Netts. This was really calculated, it was extremely thought through in relation to planning.”

Internet searches identified that Gordon had looked at buying acid to dispose of the remains, as well as how to set fire to the body so she could “never ever be identified as responsible for this horrific crime”.

A fire investigation dog deployed to the Forest of Dean identified one location where an accelerant had been used, which was later confirmed by soil samples that were analysed by scientists.

“There was a camp that had been set up nearby and that is believed to be where Phoenix had been kept and that was the location where Gareeca had attempted to set fire to her remains,” Mr Griffiths said.

On May 12, Gloucestershire Police arrested Gordon after a member of the public reported a vehicle being driven in the Coleford area, when coronavirus restrictions meant all but essential travel was forbidden.

Officers identified that Gordon lived in Birmingham and discovered Ms Netts had disappeared from the same property, which was out of character.

None of Ms Netts’ family or friends had previously contacted police with concerns about her welfare.

Mr Griffiths said Gordon’s pretence at being Ms Netts included understanding what relationships and friendships she was in at the time, and ensuring she contacted key people regularly.

“It’s only in hindsight that they’ve then noticed, for example, that Phoenix would always sign off her messages with one kiss and what Gareeca did, she put multiple kisses on the end of her messages,” he added.

“It’s only then, after friends knew Phoenix had passed away, that these issues and concerns were raised with the police.

“What we were able to substantiate was that Gareeca had taken over her identity.”

Gordon and Ms Netts, who were both originally from London, first met when Gordon moved into the Birmingham property around six months before the murder.

When asked what the motive for the murder was, Mr Griffiths said that Gordon and Ms Netts had a friendship of sorts as they were living in the same place.

“It is apparent that Gareeca wanted more than a friendship,” he said.

“That she wanted a sexual relationship with Phoenix and Phoenix didn’t want any kind of sexual relationship with Gareeca.

“That is supported by letters and notes recovered.

“Phoenix confided in close friends that there is this unhealthy relationship that Gareeca was trying to form and that she didn’t want any part of it.

“The fact she was even thinking of returning to London due to how uneasy she felt due to the contact that she was having with Gareeca Gordon.”

Ms Netts was a keen horse rider as a child, as well as being fond of drama, and was an academic who did well at school.

She studied at the University of Kent for a number of years before getting a job and starting a relationship, which led to her moving from London to Birmingham – a city which she loved.

“The impact on the family is significant,” Mr Griffiths said.

“I have spent a considerable amount of time with them, as a result of this incident, this has really traumatised them.

“The impact can never be lost on anybody who loses somebody through a homicide, but especially so in circumstances like this.”