Murder of Phoenix Netts

Phoenix Netts is a murder victim whose body was found hidden in two suitcases in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, near the England–Wales border in May 2020.[1][2][3][4]

Murder of Phoenix Netts
Date12 May 2020
LocationForest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England–Wales border
1 dead



The investigation began after a member of the public reported their suspicions to police about a car being driven erratically on the A4136 road near Coleford in the Forest of Dean.[1][3] Police located the car a short while later and they spoke to two people.[1][3] Two suitcases containing human remains were found, two people arrested, and a vehicle seized.[1][3] The remains were found around 11:30pm.[2][4]


A search began of Stowfield quarry and the village of Staunton.[1] There was a large police presence in the area, a police helicopter and several roads were closed.[1]

The A4136 was closed between Monmouth and Coleford and closures were expected to remain until Friday 15 May 2020.[4][3]

On Friday 15 May 2020 police searched properties in Wolverhampton and Birmingham as well as using DNA tests to identify the victim.[5]

Police statementsEdit

Detective chief inspector John Turner, the senior investigating officer, said "The nature of this incident is distressing and we’re working around the clock to fully understand what has happened. Someone’s life has been lost and our priority is to identify the victim and get answers for her family. Searches have taken place in the surrounding area for evidence-gathering and no remains have been found as part of these searches. Our major crime investigation team is working in collaboration with the West Midlands police homicide team to carry out further enquiries."[1]

On Thursday 14 May 2020 a Gloucestershire police spokesman said "Officers have been granted a 36-hour magistrates’ extension to continue questioning two people who were arrested on suspicion of murder. Overnight a 12-hour custody extension had been granted for both the woman aged in her 20s and from Birmingham and the man aged in his 30s and from Wolverhampton. The further 36-hour extension was granted at around midday today and means they can remain in custody for further questioning. Due to the ongoing investigation, road closures and scene guards are likely to remain in place. Gloucestershire constabulary would like to thank local residents and those impacted by the cordons for their patience during this time."[1]

On Friday 15 May 2020, Gloucestershire police said "A postmortem examination yesterday was found to be inconclusive and further examinations are ongoing to establish the cause of death. DNA testing is also ongoing to identify the female victim. Searches have continued today around the area of Stowfield Quarry, near Coleford, and some road closures remain in place in the surrounding area.[5]


Key workers had to find detours around the closed roads and some thought that the roadblocks were to stop people travelling from England to Wales to exercise.[1] As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wales people were only allowed to exercise in their own area.[1]


A 27-year-old woman from Birmingham appeared before Cheltenham Magistrates' court on 19 May 2020 and was charged with killing the woman between 14 April and 12 May 2020 at her home in Birmingham.[6][7] She was remanded to appear in Gloucester Crown Court on 19 May 2020.[7] A 38 year old man from Wolverhampton was charged with assisting an offender between 25 April and 12 May 2020 and was also remanded to appear before Gloucester Crown Court on 19 May 2020.[6][7] Both were refused bail when they appeared before magistrates in Cheltenham via video-link.[6][7]


The remains were identified via DNA tests as those of Phoenix Netts, a 28 year old woman from Birmingham.[8][9]

Change of police force and chargesEdit

Detectives from West Midlands police have taken over the investigation from Gloucestershire police.[8] Their investigations have focused on a women's refuge in Birmingham.[8]

Conditional bail was granted to the man from Wolverhampton.[8] The conditions include him residing at his home address, following a curfew between 7pm and 7am, reporting daily to police and surrendering his travel documents.[8] No application for bail was made for the woman from Birmingham.[8]

A provisional trial date of 10 November was set.[9][8]

As of 10 November 2020 all charges against the man were dropped.[10][11][12]

Jess Phillips controversyEdit

In a tweet sent on 28 February 2021 Jess Phillips MP referred to the woman charged with Netts' murder as a man, in response to rumours that the person charged with the murder was a trans woman who had been living in the refuge.[13][14]

Guilty plea and sentencingEdit

In 21 April 2021 Gareeca Gordon pleaded guilty to murdering Phoenix Netts between 14 April 2020 and 16 May 2020.[15] She had been due to stand trial the following week, but appeared via video link from HM Prison Eastwood Park before Bristol Crown Court to confirm her identity and plead guilty.[15] The Crown Prosecution Service said that Gordon had murdered Netts on 16 April 2020.[15]

On 4 May 2021 Gordon was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 23 years and 6 months.[16][17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Morris, Steven (14 May 2020). "Murder inquiry after human remains found in bags in Forest of Dean". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Forest of Dean: Murder arrests after 'human remains' found". BBC News. 13 May 2020. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Forest of Dean: 'Woman's remains' found in two suitcases". BBC News. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Giordano, Chiara (15 May 2020). "Man and woman found carrying human remains in suitcase along English-Welsh border". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b Morris, Steven (15 May 2020). "UK police use DNA to identify remains found in suitcases". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Woman charged with murder after human remains found in suitcases". The Guardian. 16 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d "Woman in court over Forest of Dean suitcase remains". BBC News. 16 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Morris, Steven (19 May 2020). "Police name woman found dead in suitcases in Forest of Dean". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Phoenix Netts: Woman found in suitcases in Forest of Dean named". BBC News. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  10. ^ Lane, Ellis (10 November 2020). "Phoenix Netts death: Man no longer facing criminal charges after body found in suitcase". Gloucestershire Echo. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  11. ^ Lane, Elllis (10 November 2020). "Wolverhampton man no longer facing charge after Phoenix Netts' body found in suitcase". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  12. ^ Farrington, Dayna (10 November 2020). "Wolverhampton man no longer facing charge over murder of Phoenix Netts". Express & Star. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  13. ^ Phillips, Jess. "Tweet from @jessphillips". Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  14. ^ Phillips, Jess. "Archived Tweet from @jessphillips". Archive. Twitter. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  15. ^ a b c Morris, Steven (21 April 2021). "Woman admits murdering Phoenix Netts after body found in Forest of Dean". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  16. ^ Morris, Steven; Murray, Jessica (4 May 2021). "Woman jailed for life after murdering neighbour and dismembering body". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Killer jailed after concealing victim's body in suitcases". BBC News. 4 May 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.