When the smell of rotting human flesh became too much for the residents of Block E to take, the caretaker on The Peabody Estate first tried to mask it with bubblegum-scented air spray. When that didn’t work, somebody eventually decided to call the police.
That was on Thursday the 7th of April last year. Almost a week earlier, on the night of Friday the 1st, a man who would later be identified in court only as “CD” found himself lost on the estate while looking for a chemsex party he’d been invited to by someone named “Domination London” on “gay fetish app” Recon. The Peabody Estate, which originally opened in 1876, lies a few minutes south of the Thames, between London Bridge and the Tate Modern. Its desirable location means a one-bed studio apartment there will set you back £1,300 a month in rent, but its various blocks can be difficult to navigate for the uninitiated.
Eventually, CD found the right door and rang the buzzer. There was no answer, so he rang it again. And again.
Eventually a man’s voice answered. It said: “Hello, sorry, we are having kind of a situation here.”
CD didn’t know what the voice meant by “a situation”, so he asked what was going on. The voice explained that somebody was feeling ill, but said not to worry because they were taking care of it. CD asked if there was anything he could do to help, and the voice said no, everything was under control, but the party was cancelled. The voice, CD would later testify, “sounded concerned, a little bit upset. He did not sound too worried.” As he walked away, CD thought to himself that perhaps somebody was throwing up on the carpet.
The voice on the other end of the intercom belonged to a 49-year-old Italian named Stefano Brizzi. He later told police why he hadn’t let CD in; he’d invited a few men to join his party, he explained, “but they didn’t arrive, and when one did arrive I was right in the middle of strangling Gordon.”