Remains of Missing Baby Found by Police as Couple Held on Suspicion of Manslaughter

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Police in Brighton have discovered the remains of a 2-month-old baby who had been missing since it was born in early January, after a two-month manhunt for the infant’s mother ended earlier this week.

Constance Marten, 35, and her boyfriend Mark Gordon, 48, are being held in custody in the city on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.

On Wednesday night, Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “It is my very sad duty to update that this afternoon, police officers searching a wooded area close to where Constance Marten and Mark Gordon were arrested, discovered the remains of a baby.”

Marten, who comes from a wealthy and aristocratic family, and Gordon apparently dropped off the radar in September last year after the pregnancy came to the attention of social services in the London borough where they lived.

Gordon—who served 20 years in a U.S. jail for rape and battery for an offence he committed when he was 14—was a registered sex offender and social workers are understood to have had concerns about his presence in the household.

The couple spent most of the autumn and early winter living in various Airbnbs around the country until, on Jan. 5, their care broke down on the M61 motorway near Bolton in Greater Manchester. It was found abandoned and on fire on the hard shoulder.

It is thought Marten had given birth in the car and there was concern when she did not call in to a local hospital or seek any medical attention.

Greater Manchester Police established that the couple and the baby had walked away from the motorway and hailed a taxi which took them to Liverpool.

They then travelled by taxi to Harwich in Essex and east London.

The last sighting of the couple was in Newhaven, East Sussex on Jan. 8.

They had then gone to ground and it was feared they were sleeping outside, possibly in a tent, with the child in bitterly cold weather in January and February.

Then, on Monday evening, they were spotted and arrested in Stanmer Villas, on the northern outskirts of Brighton, after withdrawing money from a cash machine at a convenience store.

Marten’s father, Napier Marten, said he was relieved she had been found but he said it was “very alarming” the baby was missing.

The couple were initially arrested on suspicion of child neglect but on Tuesday, when there was still no sign of the baby, they were rearrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Post-Mortem Examination Awaited

On Wednesday night Basford said a post-mortem examination would be held “in due course.”

The pathologist will hopefully be able to determine the cause of death and that would influence the police and the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision when it comes to charging Marten and Gordon.

Basford said, “I recognise the impact this news will have on the many people who have been following this story closely, and can assure them that we will do everything we possibly can to establish what has happened.”

The police obtained permission from magistrates in Brighton to hold the couple for another 36 hours.

Basford urged the media and the public to refrain from speculating on the issue for fear of prejudicing “potential court proceedings.”

Under English law, specifically the Contempt of Court Act, nothing can be reported that could prejudice the trial of a person.

Hundreds of officers from the Metropolitan Police and Sussex Police, as well as search and rescue volunteers, had been scouring 90 square miles of land on the edge of the South Downs, near Brighton, when they discovered the baby’s remains.

CCTV footage was released of the couple in Stanmer Villas on Monday night.

It showed Gordon limping and using a large stick to walk.

The couple are believed to have been living rough on Hollingbury golf course and nearby allotments in the last week.

Gordon was convicted in Florida of kidnapping and sexual battery, according to U.S. law enforcement records.

He was deported back to Britain after his release.

Gordon is known to have met Marten in 2016, when she was a drama student.

PA Media contributed to this report.

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