A woman has admitted murdering a 28-year-old victim in a suspected women’s refuge row over drugs, before allegedly sawing her body in half and dumping her remains in two suitcases in the Forest of Dean.
Gareeca Conita Gordon, 28, appeared before Bristol Crown Court via video link for a short hearing this morning.
The defendant, who is in custody at Eastwood Park prison, pleaded guilty to murdering Phoenix Netts.
Charges state that Gordon, from Birmingham, killed Ms Netts on a date between April 14 and May 12 last year.
Gordon, who spoke only to confirm her identity and plead guilty, had been due to stand trial at the court on Monday.
Police discovered Ms Netts’ remains beside a quarry near Coleford, Gloucestershire, in the Forest of Dean, on May 12.
A previous hearing was told how, when officers opened the suitcases, they said ‘it smelled of barbecue and the smell was sickening from the decomposition.’
Phoenix Netts, pictured right, 28, had ended her dream of becoming a paramedic after dropping out of university and falling into drugs, it was previously revealed by MailOnline
Phoenix Netts, pictured right, is believed to have been killed in a row over drugs at the hostel where she had been living for a number of months. Left is her university friend, who said: ‘She was such a lovely person’
Pictures emerged last year of Phoenix (right) with a friend from university (left), who said she was ‘such a lovely person’ who ‘would give you her last penny’
Police pictured searching the woodland in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, where the girl’s charred and dismembered body was found in suitcases last year
Gordon and Ms Netts lived next door to each other at an HMO in the Lozells area of Birmingham, it emerged last year.
Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, remanded Gordon into custody ahead of the sentencing hearing.
‘In your case, Gareeca Gordon, you will be brought to court for your sentencing hearing on May 4,’ he said.
Ms Netts’ remains were discovered after a member of the public reported suspicions to police about a vehicle due to its erratic driving.
The car had been driving on the A4136 near Coleford on the evening on May 12.
Officers located the car and spoke to two people, a man and a woman, who were then arrested.
Two suitcases were found to contain human remains, later identified as those of Ms Netts.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Gordon murdered Ms Netts on April 16 in the shared accommodation property where they both lived.
She then carried out a series of ‘detailed, organised actions’ to suggest that Ms Netts was alive, while taking steps to dispose of her body.
Gordon contacted friends and family of the victim by messages, emails and sometimes voice calls, pretending to be her and indicating that she was leaving the address and moving to London.
She also purchased a circular saw to dismember the victim’s body and made several visits to the Coleford area before her arrest on May 12.
Following the death of Ms Netts, from Birmingham, her family released a statement through West Midlands Police.
They said they were ‘devastated with what has happened’ and asked for their privacy to be respected.
A friend from university described Ms Netts as ‘such a lovely person’ who ‘would give you her last penny’.
Phoenix, above, grew up in Croydon, south London and later moved to the Midlands where an aunt lived. It is believed she moved into the women’s refuge at the end of 2019
Police, pictured in woodland next to Stowfield Quarry in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, searched the area for several days looking for evidence during the investigation
Police launched a major operation after discovering the suitcases containing body parts. A court heard how the killer returned to the forest four times
Forensic tents, pictured. The quarry is on Staunton Road and the closed section also contains a fishery, a former sawmill which now contains storage units, several houses and a campsite
She said: ‘It makes me sick that somebody could kill her and then cut her body up.
‘Phoenix was a kind and considerate woman.
‘We had great times at university. But she did have mental health issues and when I spoke to her about eight months ago on Facebook, she wasn’t in a good place.
‘But I am so saddened at what has happened to her.’
Her former boyfriend, speaking exclusively to MailOnline last May, said the 28-year-old was ‘always vulnerable and easy to exploit’ after her troubled youth, when she was raped by a drug dealer, and believed it was her fragility that led her to a refuge.
Her ex-partner Joe, who asked for his surname to be withheld and speaking from his new base in Toronto, Canada, said: ‘She seemed damaged and rightly so.
‘We went out while we were at Canterbury Christ Church University and she was there between 2009 and 2011, but she didn’t graduate. She told me and one other friend of hers that she had been raped by a drug dealer.
‘Phoenix was kind and quiet, but also vulnerable. She didn’t have a great childhood after her parents had split up.
‘She used to love Louis Theroux documentaries and I remember her joking about getting a T-shirt saying ‘We’re gonna get Theroux this.”
Ms Netts grew up in Croydon, south London and later moved to the Midlands where an aunt lived.
It is believed she moved into the women’s refuge at the end of 2019.
Last year, a judge dismissed a charge against a second defendant in the case, Mahesh Sorathiya.
Mr Sorathiya, from Wolverhampton, had been accused of assisting an offender, namely Gordon.
Gordon will be sentenced by High Court judge Mrs Justice Cutts at Bristol Crown Court on May 4.
Lesley Milner, a senior crown prosecutor with the CPS, said: ‘Gareeca Gordon committed a truly gruesome crime and tried to cover her tracks.
‘Thankfully, the remarkable and detailed police investigation in identifying Phoenix Netts led to the CPS building a compelling case against Gordon, which resulted in her pleading guilty.
‘She has now accepted the totality and consequences of her actions.
‘Our thoughts today are with the family and friends of Phoenix Netts for their tragic loss.’