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Aristocrat and Lover Accused of Negligence in Infant’s Death Amidst Fleeing Authorities

Constance Marten, a 36-year-old aristocrat, and her 49-year-old lover, Mark Gordon, are facing accusations of gross negligence manslaughter as they stand trial at the Old Bailey. The charges stem from the tragic death of their infant, Victoria, who died while the couple was on the run after losing custody of their previous four children.

Two adults facing camera in a split photo

The court heard that Marten and Gordon embarked on a reckless journey across the country to evade authorities and prevent Victoria from being taken into care like their previous children. Rather than seeking shelter for their newborn in the dead of winter, the couple spent their resources on taxis and transportation.

Victoria spent most of her short life confined to a Lidl ‘bag for life’ before being abandoned in a disused shed, where her lifeless body was eventually discovered. Marten, who hailed from a privileged background, resorted to scavenging for food and used furniture stuffing to insulate the infant from the freezing temperatures.

Littered garden deck with rubbish bags and scattered waste.

The court was told that social services had previously removed one of the couple’s children from their custody due to their dangerous living conditions. It was also revealed that Marten had given birth to another child in secret at a hospital under a false name, employing a fake Irish accent in an attempt to conceal her identity.

Backyard wooden deck with outdoor furniture and greenery.

Despite her affluent upbringing, Marten claimed to be homeless and estranged from her family. In truth, she had grown up in the Dorset estate Crichel House and had royal connections through her grandmother.

Prosecutor Tom Little KC described the couple’s conduct as “reckless, utterly selfish, callous, cruel, arrogant, and ultimately grossly negligent.” He emphasized that their actions had deprived Victoria of essential warmth, shelter, and food, leading to her “entirely avoidable death.”

Aerial view of cluttered allotments with police van.

Little argued that Marten had the means to provide for her child but chose to prioritise taxis and transportation over her baby’s well-being. He stated, “That baby never stood a chance.”

When the police arrested Marten and Gordon, Victoria’s lifeless body was found in the same bag where she had spent most of her life. The couple allegedly initially attributed the death to ‘cot death.’

Police officers patrolling a park trail.

In her statement to the police, Marten claimed that she had fallen asleep on top of Victoria, only to wake up to find her lifeless. She attempted resuscitation but was unsuccessful. She also admitted contemplating cremating the body or burying it in an allotment to destroy evidence but ultimately decided to keep the baby.

Aerial view of countryside with trees and allotments.

Gordon, on the other hand, claimed to have tried to resuscitate his daughter and described the experience as “harrowing.”

Marten and Gordon have both been charged with manslaughter by gross negligence, concealment of birth, child cruelty, and perverting the course of justice. They also face an alternative charge to manslaughter, causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial is expected to last six weeks, with Marten and Gordon vehemently denying the charges against them.

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