The newborn which went missing with parents Constance Marten and Mark Gordon may have been dead ‘for some time’ police admitted today.
Their arrest on Monday in Brighton ended a nationwide police hunt that began when they fled seven weeks ago with their newborn. Police held them on a child neglect charge and then on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter but they have refused to talk to officers about their child who was born in secret.
Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford said the case has been referred to the police watchdog.
He added: ‘At this stage we have not yet been able to confirm the baby’s gender and post-mortem examination has not yet taken place.
‘Despite this, based on our inquiries we’ve carried out so far, we believe sadly the baby may have been dead for some time before they were found.
‘It is too early for us to provide a more specific date.
Police officers put up crime scene tape at set of allotments, at the north of Shenfield Way, near to the scene in Brighton, East Sussex, where remains have been found in the search for the two-month-old baby of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon
Police at the allotments today are searching the area thoroughly as they investigate the death
A source told The Sun they had visited the J & E Fish Bar in the weeks before – and they only visited the parade of shops in Hollingbury Place at night always without the baby.
Police had long-theorised the couple may have evaded the authorities by camping in a tent or hiding in a shed.
Officers were seen putting up blue screens at allotments in the seaside city with a frenzy of activity in the grounds.
One woman told MailOnline: ‘The police arrived at 4.45pm yesterday and asked if they could use my garden to get access to the woods behind.
‘They were carrying screens and equipment. They went over to a spot behind the allotments about 100 metres away.
‘I couldn’t see what they were doing but there were quite a few of them.
‘The officers later carried boxes away, that we think contained material they had found important to their investigation.’
Mark Gordon, 48, and Constance Marten, 35, had been missing for 54 days, sleeping rough in a tent
Another local added: ‘The officers told us out of courtesy that that was the area they found the baby’s body.
‘The body was found in the woods. I don’t know if the body was buried. But it’s tragic to think that little child was left there, so close to where we live.’
A post-mortem examination is expected today to determine how and when the infant died.
Police had long feared for the child’s chances of survival due to a lack of medical attention and sub-zero temperatures and these worst fears were realised yesterday
Yesterday speculation emerged that the death may have been days or weeks ago because the couple were spotted several times without the child.
They were seen on CCTV on February 11 going into a fish and chip shop in Brighton, shopping at a convenience store and later visiting food banks, acording to locals.
The last person to see the infant alive was on January 7 when the couple took a taxi in Whitechapel, east London.
Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford (R) and Sussex Police Chief Superintendent James Collis (L) reveal last night that the baby they were looking for was found dead
The authorities were unaware of the birth until the pair’s car developed an electrical fault and burst into flames on the M61 near Bolton on January 5, destroying all their belongings.
The couple abandoned the wreckage, traversing the country with the baby, who was then barely a day old as police officers became increasingly concerned that the child had not received any medical attention.
They travelled by taxi, paying for everything in cash, covering their faces while on CCTV and moving frequently, often after dark.
On Monday night, police finally traced the couple to Brighton following a tip-off.
A member of the public clocked them at corner shop cash machine and followed them back to their hiding place. The use of the ATM also triggered an alarm with alerted police.
Yesterday a businessman, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘They’ve been picked up on CCTV in the area as far back as February 11.
‘They’ve been seen going into the chippy and into the Mulberrys (store), and would only go out at night.
‘Gordon has a leg injury and was using the tree branch as a walking stick. They were never seen with the baby, or pushing a pram or anything like that. It’s heartbreaking to think what might’ve happened to that poor baby.’
Days before her arrest, Marten, who hails from a wealthy family with links to the Royal Family, made a visit to Brighton Food Bank.
One worker said they did not ask for anything for an infant, even though they had ample supplies of nappies and baby food, adding: ‘They were given tinned food, bread, pasta, milk and rice. They were not registered with us, which is how we usually operate.
: Aristocrat Constance Marten, 35, who was missing with her lover Mark Gordon, 48
A police search team works through a woodland area close to where the baby was found
This is runaway aristocrat Constance Marten (right) and her lover Mark Gordon (left) moments before their arrest in Brighton on Monday. Audio of them walking past this house revealed they may have been rowing
‘The baby was not with them. We have supplies here but they didn’t ask for anything for a baby. But they came asking for help for themselves.
‘She did the talking and the man stayed back with his hood up. She asked for help. She was wearing a lot of layers and looked like she’d been outside for a while.
‘He was checking the area. He stood back and would not make eye contact. She did the talking. We didn’t take any details, we just gave them food because we thought they needed help.’
Over the past 48 hours, more than 200 police officers and search and rescue experts scoured 90 square miles of the Sussex countryside looking for the child using helicopters, sniffer dogs, thermal imaging cameras and drones.
Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, who is leading the investigation for Sussex Police, said last night: ‘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. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course.
‘A crime scene is in place and work at the location is expected to continue for some time. This is an outcome that myself and the many officers who have been part of the search had hoped would not happen.’ Last night the couple remained in custody after magistrates granted an application for the extension of their detention for a further 36 hours.
Inquiries revealed that Marten had given birth in the back of the car before it caught fire and had not been assessed by any medical professionals.
She was apparently tearful during the arrest and yelled at officers to ‘get off’ her lover when he was restrained because she was worried about his mental health.
One bystander claimed he struggled and took 40 minutes to be subdued. Another said he was ‘very angry’ and was shouting. A search dog van was seen making its way into the road leading to allotments that have been a focus of the police search.
Marked police vehicles were stationed along the route and a uniformed officer stood guard at the bottom of the road.
The woodland, which is located within a 240-hectare nature reserve, lies on the direct off-road foot route between Newhaven and Fiveways, the area of Brighton where the couple were arrested on Monday evening.
Marten and Gordon were initially detained on suspicion of child neglect before being re-arrested the following day on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk