Woman jailed for murdering Phoenix Netts after Forest of Dean arrest

A woman who murdered her friend and dismembered her body after demanding a sexual relationship with her has been jailed for life, following her arrest in Gloucestershire.

Gareeca Gordon, 28, will serve at least 23-and-a-half years’ imprisonment after she stabbed Phoenix Netts to death in April last year.

After inflicting four stab wounds to Ms Netts’ chest and torso, Gordon left her to die while refusing to call the emergency services. She may have lived for another 12 hours, a court heard.

The defendant then purchased a circular saw which she used to cut Ms Netts’ body into six pieces at the property they shared in Birmingham, Bristol Crown Court heard.

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, 28.

She had deceived her friends and family through text messages, emails and voice messages that Ms Netts was still alive and had moved to London.

Andrew Smith QC, prosecuting, told the court Gordon had previously demanded sex with Ms Netts and became “aggressive” when she said no.

Ms Netts last phoned a friend in the early hours of April 16 but when he tried to ring her back later that day he 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 would not have died had she received prompt medical attention.

The court was told another woman living in the shared accommodation heard noises of drilling and banging in the early hours of April 16, as well as shouts of “help me, help me”.

After dismembering Ms Netts’s body, Gordon made several trips to the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and attempted to burn her remains in woodland, the court heard.

Gordon was arrested on May 12 last year after police on a routine patrol stopped a car in the area during the coronavirus lockdown and discovered the defendant with two suitcases.

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.

The circular saw – bought online for £45 from Gumtree – was discovered in Gordon’s room.

The court heard Ms Netts’s family 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”.

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.

At an earlier hearing Gordon had pleaded guilty to murder.

Andrew Langdon QC, defending, said Gordon’s mother had written a letter to the judge saying she was “eternally sorry” for what her daughter had done.

In the letter, she described Gordon as a “ticking timebomb” at the time of the murder due to her mental state and a lack of support.

The court heard Gordon was born in Jamaica and moved to England aged seven, living initially with an aunt before her mother joined her.

Mr Langdon said Gordon was later “exploited by a man who turned her into a sex worker” and was in an abusive relationship.

Assessments carried out on Gordon following the murder found she has a personality disorder, has a low tolerance to frustration and struggles with perceived rejection.

Jailing Gordon for life, Mrs Justice Cutts described her as a “very dangerous young woman”.

“You stabbed her four times. None of those wounds would have been fatal had you called for help but you did not seek medical attention,” the judge said.

“I find you were aware that she was seriously injured and might not recover yet you deliberately did nothing about it.

“She must have been very frightened and suffered a great deal in those hours before she died.”

The judge also condemned Gordon for impersonating Ms Netts to her family and friends after she had died – describing it as “cold and calculated”.

“This pretence was a wicked and callous thing to do. The fact her parents were communicating with their daughter’s murderer rather than her has caused them indescribable anguish,” she said.

“Her father speaks of how this will haunt them forever and how both suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Gazette Series Gloucestershire