Missing aristocrat and her partner arrested – but their baby is still missing

  • london
  • February 28, 2023
  • Comments Off on Missing aristocrat and her partner arrested – but their baby is still missing
Missing aristocrat and her partner arrested – but their baby is still missing thumbnail

Aristocrat Constance Marten and her partner Mark Gordon have been arrested in Brighton – but their newborn baby was not with them and they have not revealed where it is.

The couple have been avoiding police since the infant was born in early January, moving around the country, paying for everything in cash and covering their faces when on CCTV.

They were finally arrested at around 9.30pm on Monday by officers from Sussex Police in Stanmer Villas, Brighton, after a tip-off from a member of the public, but the newborn was not with them.

Officers are now desperately scouring a large area between Brighton and Newhaven to try to find the infant, who has not had any medical attention since birth in early January.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford said: ‘It is a vast area and at present we are looking in the local vicinity to where the couple were arrested last night, seeking a shelter or location for where they may have been holed up and hopefully where the baby is present.

‘The arrest location was close to open land and the couple were moving towards that land. And that’s why we are focusing heavily on where we are right now.

‘We know that they travel, we know they travel long distances.

‘My plea to the members of the public here in Brighton and crossing over towards Newhaven is please be vigilant in the open land where you are, in the outbuildings that you may have on your own property, and assist us in that way by being vigilant.’

Authorities previously believed the couple had been sleeping rough in a blue tent, and had avoided being traced by the police by moving around frequently and keeping their faces covered in CCTV images.

The couple travelled from Bolton to Liverpool, then to Harwich in Essex, then to east London and then to Newhaven in Sussex, where they were seen near the ferry port on January 8.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5

The aristocrat’s daughter whose family had links to the Royals

Ms Marten, 35, comes from a wealthy aristocratic family, while Mr Gordon, 48, is a sex offender who served 20 years in US jail for rape and battery.

The couple are understood to have lived an isolated life since meeting in 2016, with then-drama student Ms Marten cutting off ties with family and friends.

She grew up in Crichel House, a Dorset estate, as part of an eminent family who had links to the Royals.

According to the Sunday Times, her grandmother was a playmate of Princess Margaret, while her father Napier Marten was a page to Queen Elizabeth.

The newspaper reported that the family put the Dorset estate on the market in 2010 for £100million, before its sale to an American buyer.

Last September, Ms Marten and Mr Gordon began moving around the country, renting AirBnBs for brief periods.

On January 5, they were on the M61 when their car broke down and caught fire near junction four at Farnworth, Bolton.

Each time Ms Marten and Mr Gordon were seen on CCTV, they covered their faces or looked away, and kept the baby covered up.

Both her parents had pleaded for Ms Marten to contact police, saying they were ‘deeply concerned’ for their grandchild’s safety.

In an audio appeal, made through The Independent, Mr Marten said: ‘Darling Constance, even though we remain estranged at the moment, I stand by, as I have always done and as the family has always done, to do whatever is necessary for your safe return to us.

‘I beseech you to find a way to turn yourself and your wee one in to the police as soon as possible so you and he or she can be protected.

‘Only then can a process of healing and recovery begin, however long it may take, however difficult it may be.

‘I would like you to understand that the family will do all that is needed for your wellbeing.

‘And I also wish you to understand you are much, much loved, whatever the circumstances.

‘We are deeply concerned for your and your baby’s welfare. The past eight years have been beyond painful for all the family as well as your friends, as they must have been for you, and to see you so vulnerable again is testing in the extreme.’

In an open letter, her mother Mrs de Selliers wrote: ‘I know you well enough; you are focused, intelligent, passionate and complex with so much to offer the world. So many of your friends have come forward to say such positive things about you, assuring us of their warmest love and support for you and your family.

‘You have made choices in your personal adult life which have proven to be challenging, however I respect them, I know that you want to keep your precious new-born child at all costs.

‘With all that you have gone through this baby cannot be removed from you but instead needs looking after in a kind and warm environment.

‘I want to help you and my grandchild. You deserve the opportunity to build a new life, establish a stable family and enjoy the same freedoms that most of us have.

‘Constance, I will do what I can to stand alongside you and my grandchild. You are not alone in this situation. We will support you in whatever way we can.

‘I am ready to do what it takes for you to recover from this awful experience so you can thrive and enjoy motherhood. I love you and miss you, Mum xx.’

Ms Marten, who is from a wealthy aristocratic family, was a promising drama student when she first met Mr Gordon in 2016.

Since then the couple have led an isolated life, and in September, when Ms Marten was well into her pregnancy, began moving around rental flats.

Gordon served 20 years in prison in the US for rape and battery committed when he was 14.

It is unknown if their baby was full-term or has any health issues.

In an appeal a week ago, Shereen Nimmo, director of midwifery for Barts Health NHS Trust, urged the couple to bring the baby in for checks.

She said: ‘You’re putting your baby at risk by not accessing medical care, so it’s really important that you come and see a midwife, doctor or another healthcare professional as soon as possible.

‘Babies need a safe, warm environment and all new mums are given information about safe sleeping for their baby to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

‘Please do the right thing for your baby and go to your nearest healthcare facility so my caring colleagues can take care of you and your baby. All we want to do is help you.’

At the time, Mr Basford said around 50 officers were working on the case at any one time and more than 630 hours of CCTV had been viewed.

He said there had been more than 350 calls to police from the public with information following previous appeals.

A £10,000 reward had been on offer for information that led to them being found safe.

Anyone who may be able to assist in the search for the couple’s baby is urged to contact 999.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Get your need-to-know
latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more