Woman jailed for life for Phoenix Netts murder
A woman has been jailed for life after admitting murdering Phoenix Netts in Birmingham last year.
Phoenix, aged 28, was found by colleagues at Gloucestershire Constabulary on 12 May in the Forest of Dean.
She had been dismembered and her body was found in two suitcases. As the investigation developed we determined Phoenix was murdered at a house in Salisbury Road, Birmingham, where she was living.
Garecca Gordon, aged 28, who lived in the same multi-occupancy home, pleaded guilty to Phoenix’s murder at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday 21 April.
She was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 23 and a half years today (4 May).
Officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary were responding to reports of a suspicious car in Coleford area on the evening of 12 May.
The man in the car was spoken to as officers had checked the registration details and determined it was registered to a house in Wolverhampton.
He stated he was waiting for a friend, but was issued a fixed penalty notice for a breach of CoVID-19 regulations.
The car was seen again near Stowfield Quarry as were two suitcases at the side of the road.
Officers found a woman with the suitcases, she was trying to stop them opening them up. However, when they did, a grim discovery was made. Phoenix’s dismembered and burnt body was found within.
Gordon was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken into custody.
Enquires were carried out she was later charged. Shortly after, the investigation was handed over to our detectives as we had established that Phoenix had been murdered in Birmingham.
A painstaking and detailed examination of the scene, an extensive CCTV trawl -which tracked Gordon’s movements for a month prior - and phone and financial analysis was carried out by the team.
We uncovered a shocking series of detailed and organised actions that Gordon carried out to convince people Phoenix was alive, while taking steps to dispose of her body.
Hours of CCTV was examined which tracked Gordon’s movements for around a month prior to the discovery of Phoenix’s body.
We know she made numerous trips to Coleford, in a car she had booked via Gumtree and by train. She was seen taking two suitcases on two separate days from her home to a cemetery in Handsworth, where she hid for several days before taking them to the Forest of Dean.
She arranged for carpet, a bed frame and Phoenix’s possessions to be collected by waste disposal companies, and ordered industrial strength bleach from an online company as well as cleaning products and a sleeping bag from Home Bargains.
She also ordered a circular saw which she used to dismember Phoenix’s body.
We believe Phoenix was killed on 16 April, we know she was stabbed four times, while none of these injuries were fatal alone, she died some hours later as a result.
Over the next four weeks Gordon behaved in a calculated and callous manner. She took possession of Phoenix’s phone and sent messages to friends pretended to be Phoenix telling them she was fine and going back to London. She sent similar messages to a housing officer and even used audio editing software to send distorted voice notes when suspicions were aroused.
She also carried out a series of sickening Google searches on Phoenix’s phone including ‘can someone recover from getting stabbed’ and ‘can a body burn to ashes with petrol.’
Phoenix’s family has released the following statement: “We have today finally got justice for Phoenix.
“We would like to thank all the police officers, from all the forces involved in the investigation, especially West Midlands Police. Without their dedication and tireless hard work, we would not have justice for Phoenix and the answers we needed.
“We would like to thank Andrew Smith, his legal team and the CPS for their dedication in bringing this case to its rightful conclusion.
“We would like to thank Victim Support, especially all our case workers who has been so supportive throughout this ordeal.
“We would like to thank the good members of the public who first reported suspicious behaviour which led to the arrest of the perpetrator.
“Without them we may never had known what happened to Phoenix.
“We thank our families, close friends, neighbours and Phoenix’s friends, for the support, love and understanding during the last year.
“Phoenix was entirely blameless. I hope that this is now clear to everyone. She was the victim of a senseless act of violence which ended her life at a young age.
“She was greatly loved by her family and we cared for her very much.
“We’re aware there has been speculation on social media suggesting otherwise but this is not the case; we too received messages from Gordon pretending to be Phoenix."
“Hopefully now, Phoenix will be treated with the respect she deserves. Our families will continue to try and heal our lives the best we can.
“We again ask that our privacy and Phoenix’s memory is respected whilst we continue to grieve. Thank you."
Detective Superintendent Scott Griffiths, who led the investigation, said: “My thoughts remain with the family and friends of Phoenix, she was a much-loved young woman whose life was tragically cut short by the sickening actions of Gordon.
“The details of this very sad case are extremely distressing for everyone who knew Phoenix. It was also difficult for the officers working on this case from both police forces.
“The callous and calculating actions of Gordon after she had killed Phoenix are deeply concerning. She went to great lengths to pretend Phoenix was still alive and had moved out of the area, as well as great efforts to dispose of her body, hoping her despicable crime would go unnoticed.
“Gordon did plead guilty to the murder which has saved Phoenix’s family the pain and distress of a court trial, however I imagine their loss and knowing what happened is incomprehensible. I admire their courage, patience and dignity throughout and hope today’s sentence offers some solace as they try to come to terms with this tragedy."
Detective Chief Inspector John Turner, who led the initial investigation in Gloucestershire, said: “I can only hope that today’s sentence will give Phoenix’s family and friends some kind of comfort as they try and come to terms with their loss and our thoughts remain with them.
“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."