Urgent search for baby when Constance Marten and Mark Gordon arrested

  • By Christy Cooney and Jasmine Andersson
  • BBC news

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Watch: Police search Roedale Valley Allotments on Sussex Downs

A massive search is underway for a missing baby after a couple – Constance Marten and Mark Gordon – were found and arrested in Brighton.

Their baby was believed to be days old when the couple disappeared in January.

The couple have been arrested by Sussex Police on suspicion of neglect, but their baby has not been found.

Officers are scouring an allotment garden and golf course on the Sussex Downs, in an “urgent search” involving helicopters, drones and police dogs.

Marten and Gordon, a convicted sex offender, were found after being spotted by a member of the public withdrawing money from an ATM outside Iceland in the Fiveways area of ​​north Brighton on Monday night.

The pair were heavily dressed for outdoor activities, Det Supt Lewis Basford of the Met Police said, and were returning to open country when they were arrested.

In a direct appeal to the public, police said the search was “now about that baby”.

The Metropolitan Police detective, who is leading the case, told BBC Breakfast there were concerns the child was being exposed to the elements.

The pair had been traveling across England by taxi for weeks – apparently evading police – after their car broke down near Bolton, Greater Manchester, on January 5.

Marten’s father, Napier Marten, expressed his “enormous relief” that his daughter had been found, “tempered by the very alarming news that her baby has not yet been found,” he told The Independent.


Constance Marten and Mark Gordon disappeared with a newborn baby more than seven weeks ago

“The point of arrest was close to open land and the pair were moving towards that land. We know they travel, we know they travel long distances,” Det Supt Basford said.

“My plea to the public here in Brighton and crossing over towards Newhaven is to be vigilant.”

Around 20 officers have been spotted combing the Hollingbury Golf Course and Roedale Valley Allotments to find the missing baby. The police have also encouraged people to look through sheds and outbuildings.

Marten and her partner left their home in Eltham, south-east London, in September after she first showed signs of pregnancy.

Their car broke down on the M61 near Bolton and was found burning on January 5 – after which the couple traveled in quick succession to Liverpool, Essex and London.

CCTV footage showed them apparently trying to hide their faces from cameras.

They were believed to be carrying a large amount of cash and to be using camping equipment to live off the grid, police said.

When they first went missing, police said they were concerned that the couple appeared to be “constantly moving and awake for at least a couple of days – which must be particularly tiring for someone who had recently given birth without medical attention”.

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Det Supt Lewis Basford says officers are searching a large area for the missing infant

They also said there was no evidence that either Marten or the baby had been assessed by medical professionals since the child’s birth.

In late January, detectives offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to the couple’s whereabouts.

Marten, 35, comes from a wealthy family and had a privileged upbringing, attending a private school and living in a stately home in Dorset.

Police said she became estranged from her family after meeting Gordon while a drama student in 2016.

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