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A court sketch of Mark Gordon (left) and Constance Marten (right) at the Old Bailey
By Daniel Sandford at the Old Bailey
BBC News

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon did not tell police officers where their newborn baby was when they were arrested in Brighton last year, a trial heard.

In footage played at the Old Bailey, police officers could be heard asking “where’s your child?”, but the couple do not reply.

The couple are on trial for the manslaughter by gross negligence of their newborn baby girl, Victoria.

They both deny the charges.

As the officers attempted to restrain Mark Gordon on Golf Drive, he started trying to eat some food he had just bought. “You can eat in a minute once I have found out who you are,” PS Robert Button told him.

Constance Marten can be heard telling officers to leave Mark Gordon alone as officers tried to handcuff him.

“I can’t watch… leave him alone. Let him eat his food… he’s starving,” she said.

“Please stop, he’s not well.”

Responding to her pleas, PS Button told her: “If he’s not well, he needs to comply, doesn’t he?”.

At the time of her arrest, Constance Marten told officers her name was Arabella.

“Constance, Arabella, whoever you are…” PS Button said while looking at a photograph of Constance Marten on his phone. “Where’s your child?” he asked, but the couple did not reply.

At one point in the footage, Constance Marten seems to refer to Mark Gordon as “Daddy Bear” when asked once again about the child’s location.

“Daddy Bear, are you alright?”, she said at another point. “I love you,” she added, speaking to Mr Gordon.

When she was told she was under arrest, she said: “You can’t arrest me for hiding a pregnancy.”

Jurors saw Constance Marten’s baby for first time in a court video

A few minutes before their arrest on 27 February, a CCTV camera had filmed Constance Marten in the Post Office on Hollingbury Place in Brighton, putting a tin of food her pocket which then fell through onto the floor, after which she picked it up and returned it to the shelf.

Then two other cameras recorded Constance Marten outside the nearby Mulberry’s convenience store making three cash withdrawals, and Mark Gordon paying cash for some shopping.

They had been spotted by Dale Cooley who recognised them as the couple from the news who were missing with a newborn baby.

In a statement read to the jury, Dale Cooley recalled how he had followed the couple in his car. Constance Marten seemed to be in a rush and Mark Gordon was following behind with a “massive stick”.

“Their behaviour seemed strange as though they were trying to stay hidden,” he said. “The female was ahead of the male and looked to be in a hurry.”

He said at one point he tried to engage the couple in conversation, asking about the road they were on, but Mark Gordon just replied: “We do not know.”

Eventually, Dale Cooley dialled 999 and told the police what he had seen and Mark Gordon and Constance Marten were arrested on Golf Drive.

It was seven weeks and a day since they had first walked onto the South Downs with their newborn baby.

Earlier, the jury watched footage recorded on CCTV cameras at Hollingbury Golf Club in the early hours of 20 February 2023.

It showed Mark Gordon going up a fire escape and then apparently trying to force a door of the building. The footage also showed Mark Gordon and Constance Marten rummaging through a large wheelie bin, taking things out of it and putting them in a “bag for life.”

The jury has heard that two days after their arrest, on 1 March, the body of Mark Gordon and Constance Marten’s newborn baby Victoria was found under some rubbish in a Lidl “bag for life” inside a shed on some nearby allotments.

As well as manslaughter, the couple are also accused of four other offences: cruelty to their baby; concealment of the baby’s birth; causing or allowing her death; and perverting the course of justice by concealing the body.

The trial continues.

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