Police are growing increasingly concerned for the welfare of a newborn baby whose parents officers believe are sleeping rough in freezing temperatures.
The missing aristocrat Constance Marten and her boyfriend, Mark Gordon, a convicted sex offender, were last seen more than a fortnight ago in east London after buying a tent and bedding. Detectives fear their baby has been exposed to the sub-zero temperatures and has received no medical attention since birth in early January.
Officers said on Tuesday that Gordon had gone into Argos on Whitechapel Road at 6.19pm on Saturday 7 January to buy camping gear, including a blue two-person tent. The family then walked around the area for more than three hours, trying to flag down three black cabs that all refused to take them as passengers.
They were last seen walking along Brick Lane, towards Bethnal Green Road, at 10.01pm that night.
Det Supt Lewis Basford, who is leading the investigation, said: “We are extremely concerned that a newborn baby – less than a week old at the time on 7 January – has been exposed to sub-freezing cold temperatures if Mark and Constance have been camping out somewhere, as our evidence suggests.
“No child, especially a tiny, newborn baby, should be forced to endure such dangerous, potentially life-threatening conditions.
“This is why it is absolutely vital that anyone with information about their whereabouts contacts us as a matter of urgency – whether it is with a recent or older sighting. Every piece of information is crucial to enabling us to find the baby and ensure it is OK.
“My officers will continue working tirelessly behind the scenes to piece together the family’s movements and current whereabouts. It could be that they are trying to blend in with homeless communities, either here in London or further afield, or they could be camping in more rural or wooded areas.
“They could be absolutely anywhere in the country. Please keep your eyes peeled, especially while you are out and about in waste ground or beauty spots, or while you’re walking the dog, and report any information, no matter how insignificant you think it is, to us.”
Marten is from a wealthy aristocratic family with connections to the royal family and was a promising drama student until she met Gordon in 2016. Since then, the couple have led an isolated life cut off from family and friends.
From around September last year, they began living in a series of Airbnbs around the country on short lets and amassed a significant about of cash to enable them to live off-grid and avoid the attention of the authorities.
The couple are believed to have walked away from a car fire in Greater Manchester, in which most of their belongings were destroyed, and made their way to east London over the course of two days.
Whenever they have been seen on CCTV their faces are covered and the baby is hidden from view, although taxi drivers used by the couple in the first few days after they went missing heard noises from a baby.
Gordon served 20 years in a US jail for rape and battery for an attack on a woman aged in her early 20s when he was 14.
Anyone who has information can call police on 020 7175 0785, or to remain anonymous can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or online.