13.2 C
Los Angeles
Monday, October 2, 2023
Home Feeds Constance Marten, Mark Gordon charged with manslaughter as baby autopsied

Constance Marten, Mark Gordon charged with manslaughter as baby autopsied


LONDON — The story of the runaway British aristocrat and her partner, a convicted sex offender, started with a vehicle left ablaze on the side of the road in northern England. It’s nearing an end as the couple faces manslaughter charges after a baby was found dead in the woods.

The mystery surrounding Constance Marten, 35, and Mark Gordon, 48, has gripped Britain in recent weeks amid a national manhunt for the couple, who appeared to be living off the grid — sleeping in a tent in freezing temperatures and hiding from surveillance cameras while they fled around the country. There were widespread fears their newborn baby, who had not received medical attention, could be in danger.

Interest has also been heightened by Marten and Gordon’s backgrounds: Marten is a daughter of an aristocratic British family, and Gordon spent two decades in a Florida prison after he was, as a teenager, found guilty of sexual assault.

The manhunt began in early January after the couple’s abandoned vehicle was found on fire in Farnworth, a town about 200 miles north of London.

The authorities had arrived to address the blaze — but the vehicle’s occupants were nowhere to be found. And in the back seat of the car, a placenta was discovered, sparking the Greater Manchester Police to search urgently for a newborn baby, the police said.

It was not clear why the couple chose to go on the run. Marten and Gordon were not reported missing nor were they charged with any crimes before their vehicle broke down, Camilla Moor, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police, which is handling the investigation, said in an email. The pair, who police said had no permanent address, had been staying in northern England in Airbnb rentals and properties reserved on Booking.com before the car broke down, Moor added.

The saga marked a sharp contrast from Marten’s privileged upbringing. Marten’s aristocratic family, according to the Independent, has loose ties to the royal family — Marten’s grandmother is the goddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II’s mother — and Marten was previously featured in Tatler, a British lifestyle magazine focused on high society.

Gordon was born in Britain but raised in the United States, British media reported. He spent nearly two decades in prison in Broward County, Fla., after being found guilty of kidnapping, burglary and four charges of sexual battery, according to state inmate records. He was deported after being released halfway through his 40-year sentence, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which lists Gordon as a registered sex offender.

Marten became estranged from her family in 2016 after she met Gordon while at drama school, the BBC reported. But in January, as the search for Marten unfolded, her father urged her to turn herself in to the police.

“I want you to understand that you are much much loved whatever the circumstances,” Napier Marten said in an audio message published by the Independent. “Even though we remain estranged at the moment … 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.”

The authorities similarly stressed, in appeals to the couple, that they only wanted to ensure the newborn’s safety. Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr of the Greater Manchester Police had addressed Marten: “As a mum … I know this is an exceptionally hard time for you and you are likely feeling scared but I promise that our number one priority is the same as yours — to keep your beautiful newborn safe.”

As the search continued in the dead of winter, national attention centered on concerns about the baby’s safety as the family was reportedly living a nomadic lifestyle outdoors, shuffling across the country while trying to evade the authorities.

The couple was found Monday evening in Brighton, on Britain’s southern coast, some 250 miles from where they had fled from the vehicle, police said. But there was no sign of the baby — and the couple refused to disclose the baby’s whereabouts, local media reported.

The body of a baby — who has not been formally identified — was found dead two days later in Brighton, the police said.

The coming days could bring answers to the various questions surrounding the happenings of the past two months. Marten and Gordon appeared in court on Friday after they were charged with gross negligence manslaughter, concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice, said the Metropolitan Police. It was not clear if the couple had legal representation.

The body of the baby found this week was set to undergo a post-mortem examination on Friday, Moor said.

Police said they had been “overwhelmed by the messages of kindness and support shown to those involved in this challenging search and investigation,” and that they would do “everything” possible to “find out what has happened.”

Members of the public, meanwhile, left flowers and tributes near where the baby’s body had been found. “Sleep safe little one,” one note read.

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.