VIDEO: 'Where is your child?' Jurors shown dramatic video of the moment Constance Marten and her partner were arrested
Wednesday 7 February 2024
Jurors have seen dramatic video of the moment fugitive aristocrat Constance Marten was arrested in the street and asked repeatedly: “Where is your child?”
Marten, 36, and Mark Gordon, 49, had allegedly been living with their newborn daughter Victoria off grid in a tent on the South Downs while on the run from police.
Last February 27, police finally tracked them down to the Hollingbury area of Brighton after they were spotted by a member of the public.
They declined to say where baby Victoria was and on March 1, her body was found in a Lidl supermarket bag covered in rubbish in a disused shed.
Police Sergeant Robert Button was among the officers who arrested the pair at 9.35pm last February 27.
Giving evidence, he said Marten appeared to be wearing “furniture stuffing” for insulation and smelled “unclean and unwashed”.
He said both she and Gordon had a distinctive odour that he associated with homeless people.
The officer’s body-worn video showed the moment they were arrested on suspicion of child neglect.
Mr Button approached Gordon and said: “Hello. Sorry mate, can you stop for a second? Stop alright, I need to speak to you.”
Screen grab taken from body worn camera footage of the moment Mark Gordon was arrested
Constance Marten, 36, and Mark Gordon, 49, had allegedly been living with their newborn baby off grid in a tent on the South Downs while on the run from police.
CCTV footage of Constance Marten filling a bottle with petrol in January 2024
CCTV footage of Constance Marten holding baby Victoria under her coat in London in January 2024
Asked what about, Mr Button said: “Well because potentially I think you may have been in the national news.”
When Gordon denied it, he was asked why he was running away and ordered repeatedly to put the stick he was carrying down.
As the defendant resisted, he was told: “Relax yourself, you are under arrest until I confirm who you are.”
Gordon complained he was hungry and he “wasn’t doing anything”. A distressed Marten then intervened saying: “Stop with him please, he’s not well.”
She went on: “Oh my god, I can’t watch. Leave him alone. Let him eat his food. He’s starving.”
Items found in Amblecote Playing Field near the burnt out Peugeot 206 on the side of the M61
A placenta was found wrapped in a towel on back seat of their car
Another officer later turned to Marten and said: “I’ll level with you, you are under arrest for child neglect.” Marten replied: “For doing what?”
She was then asked by officers: “Where’s your child? Where’s your child? Sorry, where is your child, we need to know?” The defendant did not respond.
A dog handler then said: “Tell me now because I’m going to send the dog into the wood to try and find someone so you tell me where it is now.”
A discussion could be heard about carrying out an “open search” before Marten was further arrested for concealment of the birth of a child.
Marten insisted it was “not an arrestable offence”, adding: “You can’t arrest someone for hiding a pregnancy.”
Pc Matthew Colburn helped handcuff Gordon and asked repeatedly where the child was and whether it was alive as the defendant demanded food and drink.
Constance Marten buying supplies at Texaco in Newhaven
The burnt out Peugeot 206 on the side of the M61
On being given ginger beer, chicken and crisps from his shopping bag, the defendant asked for mayonnaise to go with it.
Pc Colburn was heard on body worn video to say: “I’m not going to make you a sandwich, we’ve got a child to find.”
Gordon said he did not “want to talk” and asked why finding the baby was the “bigger deal”.
The officer replied: “We need to potentially save a life. That’s the number one priority. It may not be your priority, but it’s everyone else’s priority.”
Gordon made muffled noises as he ate his crisps on the ground and Pc Colburn queried: “The child is dead? The child is dead?”
The officer told Gordon he was concerned there was a “baby potentially on its own” and the defendant was “more interested in eating”.
He added: “I’m worried if we don’t find the child, your child might die, and that’s the most important thing right here, right now.”
He told jurors: “I quickly came to the realisation they had potentially not eaten for days, weeks or even months, and from my perspective it was the humane thing to do.”
The Old Bailey trial continues.