A MAN and woman arrested after the severed and charred body of a woman was found in two suitcases in the Forest of Dean on Tuesday have today been remanded in custody at Cheltenham Magistrates Court.
Jamaican national Gareeca Conita Gordon, 27, of Salisbury road, Birmingham, is accused of murdering the unknown woman and Mahesh Sorathiya, 38 of Denmore Gardens, Wolverhampton is charged with assisting in the removal and disposal of a body between April 14 and May 12.
The pair appeared via video link from Gloucestershire Police HQ in separate hearings before District Judge Joti Bopari this morning and were remanded in custody till Tuesday when they will face Gloucester Crown Court.
The court was told that the remains of the woman were burnt and decomposing when police found them after stopping a car in the Staunton area of Coleford, Glos, on Tuesday.
There was no bail application for Ms Gordon but Mr Sorathiya did apply for bail. However, his application was turned down by the judge
Wearing a grey jumper, Ms Gordon was told during the first hearing that she is charged with murdering a so far unidentified woman between April 14th and May 12th at Salisbury Road in Birchfield, Birmingham. She she did not give any indication of a plea to the charge.
The prosecutor, Kathryn Jones, told the court that the case was too serious to be dealt with at magistrates court.
Matthew Harbinson defending said he would not be applying for bail.
Police are awaiting results of DNA tests to establish the identity of the victim, whose torso was found in one suitcase and other body parts in another case when police stopped the defendants in the area of Staunton, nr Coleford, Glos, on Tuesday night.
The grisly find led to a large surrounding area being cordoned off and a widespread police search.
Mr Soirathiya was wearing a grey sweatshirt when he appeared before the court after Ms Gordon.
He did not indicate any plea to the charge of assisting Ms Gordon.
Ms Jones, prosecuting, said “The investigation began with a road traffic stop by police in Forest of Dean.
“Ms Gordon was found near a quarry while Mr Sorathiya was located up the road and the suitcases were located nearby.
“Mr Sorathiya told the police that he had dropped Ms Gordon at a remote location with a bicycle.”
She said the body was decomposing when police found it in the suitcases.
The court was told that the pair had made a number of trips from the Midlands to Gloucestershire and that the body’s remains were charred.
Making a bail application for Mr Sorathiya, defence lawyer Ryan O’Donnell said that his client had received a ‘small recompense’ for his taxi service to the area.
“Mr Sorathiya was spotted cleaning his car in Coleford’s high street with wet wipes,” he said.
“He has a settled home life, even if his wife kicked him out recently for a few days after an argument.”
Ms Jones added: “Sorathiya must have been aware of what he was doing as body parts leaves residual traces.”
Judge Bopa Rai said that the smell of human decomposition would have been ‘disgusting’ even if the body had been charred.
The judge refused bail and remanded Mr Sorathiya in custody until the Gloucester Crown Court hearing on May 19.
The court was told that it was likely that any future hearings would be held at Birmingham Crown Court.