Constance Marten and Mark Gordon Wiki

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  • Background

    Constance Marten (CM) and Mark Gordon (MG) came to the attention of the general public in early January 2023 when a high-risk missing person appeal was launched following a car fire on the M6. In the car was a placenta, wrapped in a towel, and the passport of Constance Marten. (N.B. this link references a baby boy, which is incorrect)

    Appeals were made on social media platforms and news channels for the couple and their baby, who was thought to have been born in the car only days before the fire. Initial statements and appeals focussed on the wellbeing of the baby, then the mother.

    The reporting quickly moved to focus on The Aristocrat whose family had royal connections, and access to a large amount of money which allowed them to use taxis to move location easily.

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    In the second week of them being missing, it became clear that her partner (MG) has a criminal record (TW for violence and sexual assault) following offences in the US when he was aged 14. Having moved to the US from Birmingham as a child, he was jailed for 20 years before being deported back to the UK in 2010. He remains on the sex offender register.

    While nothing was confirmed by police or news outlets, CM's facebook page showed photos of her with three young children, leading to speculation that they may have had other children removed into care, which is why they fled with this baby. CM had been estranged from her family since around 2016, which is the year she met MG.

    The Met Police issued CCTV images showing the couple buying a tent and buggy in Argos on 7th January - two days after they went missing.

    On 19th January 2023 her father made a public appeal.

    At the end of January, a £10,000 reward was offered by the Met Police for information leading to their location.

    On 7th February 2023 the press shared an open letter from her Mother.

    On 27th February 2023, the couple were arrested in the Hollingbury area of Brighton. The baby was not with them.



    The couple were charged with the following offences:
    • Gross negligence manslaughter
    • Child cruelty
    • Concealment of a birth
    • Causing or allowing the death of a child
    • Perverting the course of justice through concealment of the body

    CM was held at HMP Bronzefield, and MG at HMP Belmarsh awaiting trial.

    They appeared at the Old Bailey on 26th October 2023, both pleading Not Guilty to all five offenses. A trial date was set for 2nd January 2024, with pre-trial hearing set for 8th December 2023.

    The trial began on 24th January 2024.


    Timeline

    As the trial has progressed, the timeline of events has been explained.

    20/12/22
    CM made an Airbnb booking in Northumberland to arrive the same day, until 26/12.

    24/12/22
    Constance alleges that the baby was born, at the holiday cottage.

    28/12/22
    The Airbnb hosts found the holiday cottage in 'something of a state'.

    28/12/22
    A Suzuki car being used by the couple broke down on the M18. Initially MG asked the recovery driver to take them to Thorne, South Yorkshire, but then asked to be taken instead to a nearby Sainsbury's.
    No baby was seen or heard by the recovery driver.
    During the trial, we heard that the recovery driver "could not see through the back or side windows as they were blocked by what appeared to be clothing." He believed that CM and MG were living in the car.

    4/1/23
    CM and MG checked in to the Ibis Hotel at Lymm Services, Cheshire in the early hours.

    4/1/23
    The couple later checked in to the AC Hotel, Manchester.

    5/1/23
    A Peugeot car being used by the couple caught fire on the M61 in Greater Manchester. Around 8pm they were driven to a nearby Morrisons by a member of the public who stopped to help.
    Following this, they took a taxi from Bolton Interchange station to Liverpool, then a second taxi to Harwich, Essex.

    A placenta was found in the car, along with CM's passport. This triggered a high-risk missing person inquiry, and national appeal to find them.

    6/1/23
    The couple arrived in Harwich in the early hours, checking in to a Premier Inn at around 3am.
    During the morning they were seen by a member of the public. He alleges that CM had a baby wrapped in a towel or blanket, inside her coat. He approached the couple, asking if they were CM and MG. He states that the baby was crying, and wearing a onesie but no hat or mittens, and it still had 'blood and mucous' on its head.
    Later that day, CM and MG checked in to the Fryatt Hotel.

    7/1/23
    Checking out at around 7am, the couple took another taxi to Colchester.
    From there, they travelled again by taxi to East Ham, London, where MG bought a pushchair from Argos. They took another taxi to Whitechapel, and had dinner in Brick Lane.
    They then got rid of the pushchair which had only been bought that morning. The prosecution allege that the baby was carried in a Lidl bag for life from this point.

    7/1-8/1/23
    Travelling again by taxi, they moved to Hornsey, North London just after midnight, and then on to Newhaven, East Sussex. The second taxi driver reportedly heard a baby.

    8/1/23
    Arriving in Newhaven before 5am they walked to the South Downs National Park.

    9/1/23
    CM alleges that she fell asleep sitting up, holding the baby. When she woke the baby had died.

    12/1/23
    CM was seen alone, buying snacks and petrol in a glass bottle from a Texaco garage.

    16/1/23
    A blue tent, allegedly used by the couple, was seen in Stanmer Park Nature Reserve, South Downs. MG was seen leaving the tent carrying a bag for life. A week later, the tent was gone.

    16/1 or 17/1/23
    A second dog walker saw the couple near Hollingbury Golf Course, Sussex. They had a pushchair but the witness did not see a baby.

    17/1/23
    A witness saw the blue tent up in Coldean Lane, Brighton.

    18/1/23
    A driver saw both CM and MG in the Coldean Lane area, walking towards Stanmer Park. They thought CM had something inside her coat.

    19/1/23
    The couple were again seen in Stanmer Park. A witness alleges that CM had a baby in a sling/carrier, and that the baby had a wobbly head, no socks or hat. They also had the blue tent with them.

    20/1/23
    The couple were seen on CCTV trying to break in to Hollingbury Golf Course and then looking through the bins.

    27/1/23
    CM and MG were arrested in Hollingbury Place, Brighton, after a member of the public saw them and phoned the police.
    They were carrying furniture stuffing and cardboard in their clothes to try to keep warm.
    Both refused to answer any questions about the baby.

    1/3/23
    Following extensive searches, the body of a baby was found by police on 1st March, underneath nappies in a bag for life, in an allotment shed near to where the couple were arrested. CM confirmed to police that the baby was a girl, and that she had been named Victoria.


    Daily trial reporting
    24/1/24
    MG appeared in the dock for the first day of the trial.
    CM was not present.
    Case adjourned due to administrative issues.
    25/1/24
    MG appeared in the dock.
    CM was not present - she was due to appear via video link.
    Jurors selected last week (17/1) were sworn in.
    Tom Little KC - prosecution - delivered his opening remarks.
    He said the case "involves the entirely avoidable death of a young baby".
    He added: “A young baby girl who would still be alive if it was not for the reckless, utterly selfish, callous cruel, arrogant and ultimately grossly negligent conduct of these two defendants.
    "They put their view of life before the life of a little baby girl."

    He continues: "Their selfish desire to keep their baby girl led inexorably to the death of that very baby.
    "They went and remained on the run. Giving birth to the baby on the run. Not seeking any medical assistance before, during or after birth. "Not registering the birth but moving from location to location.

    "When the hunt by the authorities to find them, which became national front page news almost exactly a year ago, intensified so their desperate selfishness increased and so did the risks and the dangers to the baby."

    Mr Little has added that the body of Marten and Gordon's baby was left "as if it was refuse".
    He said: "After the baby had died the defendants did not hand themselves in but instead remained off-grid and trying to hide, leaving the body of their dead baby in a shopping bag covered in rubbish, as if she was refuse, and left in a disused shed."


    29/1/24
    30/1/24
    31/1/24

    1/2: Nothing to report, jury sent home until Monday

    5/2/24

    6/2/24

    7/2/24

    Trial
    Jury

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