A British father-of-two and a 27-year-old woman have been charged after a woman’s body was found “sawed in half” and shoved into suitcases in a forest outside Birmingham, England, according to local reports.
The remains of an unidentified woman were found near a quarry in the Forest of Dean on Tuesday night, after a member of the public reported a vehicle driving erratically in the area, according to The Sun. A source close to the investigation told the paper that the alleged scene of the crime—a property in nearby Birmingham—was “like a bloodbath.”
Authorities said a post-mortem examination was inconclusive and that further examinations would be needed to establish the victim’s identity and cause of death. But police were able to arrest and charge two suspects: Gareeca Conita Gordon, 27, who was charged with murder, and Mahesh Sorathiya, 38, who was charged with assisting an offender.
The pair made an appearance via video at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court on Saturday morning. Neither entered a plea, but Sorathiya’s lawyer asked the judge to grant his client bail, saying he had received only a “small recompense” for providing taxi service to the crime scene, according to The Daily Mail. Both defendants were denied bail and remanded in custody.
Sorathiya’s neighbors told The Sun they were shocked by the allegations against the father of two, who moved to Wolverhampton three years ago with his wife.
“It's so shocking. They are a lovely family—I never had a bad word to say about them,” said neighbor Tesman Raju. “'I considered them to be friends. When their father died, they knocked on my door and I went to their funeral. We got on well with them.”
In a statement to the Telegraph, DCI John Turner described the incident as “distressing” and said investigators were “working around the clock to fully understand what has happened.” Police searched the area where the suitcases were found for three days, using trained sniffing dogs, according to the Mail. No other body parts have been found.
Residents of the area, however, described an odd burning smell shortly before the two suspects were arrested.
“It was actually strong enough for me to smell inside the house,” one resident told the Mail. “I actually came outside to see what it was. I've never smelt anything similar around here.”
“What it was, I can't tell you, but it was strange,” he added.