Constance Marten and Mark Gordon: Police fear baby is ‘seriously injured’

  • By Rachel Russell
  • BBC News


London Search and Rescue (LONSAR) officers search the Wild Park local nature reserve area in Brighton on Wednesday

Police fear a baby at the center of a massive search operation is ‘seriously injured’.

A 90 square mile site in Brighton is roamed by hundreds of officers.

Police have asked for more time to question Constance Marten and Mark Gordon, who were arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter on Tuesday.

A search for the couple began in January after their car was found on fire on the M61 near Bolton.

Police said Ms Marten had recently given birth and believe the baby may have been born in the back of the vehicle, without a midwife or medical attention.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford of the Metropolitan Police said an extensive search using drones, sniffer dogs and thermal imaging cameras was underway.

Earlier on Wednesday, London search and rescue officers scoured Moulsecoomb Wilderness Park, about a mile from Stanmer Villas in Brighton, where the couple were arrested.

Officers searched under sticks and logs near where the area meets Hollingbury Golf Course.

A uniformed officer was also seen standing at the entrance to the park.


Police and search and rescue officers work together to find the missing baby

The housing estates and the golf course were searched on Tuesday. A Facebook group for Roedale Valley housing estates has been told that police have broken into every shed on the site in search of the baby.

Ms Marten, 35, and Gordon – a convicted rapist and registered sex offender – were detained on Monday after a member of the public saw them and called the police.

They were first held on suspicion of child neglect, but were later arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.

Those charged with the offense could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted of a death caused by negligent behavior.

This is different from manslaughter by unlawful act, where a prison sentence can be up to 24 years if it is proven that a person intentionally did something illegal or dangerous that caused death inadvertently.

The couple remain in custody, but police said they have not provided any further information on the child’s condition or whereabouts.

The police do not know the gender of the baby.


Constance Marten and Mark Gordon disappeared with a newborn baby over seven weeks ago

In a statement released by police on Tuesday, Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford urged the public to help with the search and report any potential sightings in Brighton and Newhaven.

He said: “I would also ask people living in these areas to report any suspicious behavior or objects found in their gardens, outbuildings and sheds, by then.

“Equally, if you wander through these areas and find something that you think we should know, please do not hesitate to contact us, no matter how insignificant that may seem.”

A car belonging to Ms Marten and Gordon, 48, was found on fire on the side of the M61 motorway in Bolton on January 5.

After their car was found on fire, police said the family left the scene and traveled to Liverpool, Essex, London and East Sussex.

They appeared to have covered their faces when out in public, traveling at night and using cash to buy supplies, to avoid being found.

Their home is in Eltham, south-east London, but they have been living nomadically since September last year – when Ms Marten started showing signs of pregnancy.

Video Caption,

Watch: CCTV shows couple of babies missing moments before arrest

Police have not ruled out someone could be caring for the baby – although they added it was unlikely.

Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford said the risk to the baby – who would now be around two months old – increased over time, especially in cold weather.

He said the police must now “be open to the fact that this may not end the way we would like”.

Police previously said Ms Marten’s inherited wealth may have allowed the couple to remain free for an extended period.

She comes from a privileged background, having lived in a stately home growing up.

She became estranged from her family after meeting Gordon, 48, at drama school in 2016.

They believe the baby was alive when the family was last seen in Newhaven, but little is known about the family’s movements in the weeks since.

After the pair were discovered on Monday, Ms Marten’s estranged father, Napier Marten, told the Independent he felt “tremendous relief”, although that was “tempered by the very alarming news [her] baby hasn’t been found yet”

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