Constance Marten and Mark Gordon guilty of two counts but face manslaughter retrial over death of baby

Aristocrat Constance Marten and her partner Mark Gordon  (PA)
Aristocrat Constance Marten and her partner Mark Gordon (PA)

Aristocrat Constance Marten and her partner have been found guilty of hiding the birth of their baby who was found dead in a Lidl shopping bag after a high-profile search, it can now be reported.

Marten, 37, and Mark Gordon, 50, went off-grid with their newborn daughter Victoria to evade authorities after four other children were taken into care, the Old Bailey heard.

Over seven weeks, the couple travelled across England and slept in a tent on the South Downs as police searched for the missing baby.

Two days after their arrests in Brighton last February, Victoria’s decomposed body was found in an allotment shed inside a Lidl bag-for-life.

A jury at the Old Bailey found the couple guilty of concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice, it can now be reported.

The couple had also faced charges of child cruelty, manslaughter by gross negligence and causing or allowing the death of a child, all of which they denied.

Jurors began deliberating on 30 April and were discharged on 19 June after more than 72 hours of deliberation.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Tom Little KC announced the Crown would seek a retrial as Judge Mark Lucraft KC allowed reporting of the two verdicts following an application by the PA news agency.

Judge Lucraft set a provisional six-to-eight-week retrial from 3 March next year.

Jurors heard that police began a search for the missing baby after a placenta was found in a burning car on the motorway near Bolton, Greater Manchester, on 5 January last year.

The defendants had fled the scene with Victoria under Marten’s jacket, leaving behind a cat in a box, about £2,000 in cash, 34 “burner” phones and other belongings, the trial heard.

They travelled by taxis from the North West to Harwich in Essex, East Ham in London and on to Newhaven, East Sussex.

Victoria was briefly glimpsed on CCTV footage in London wearing a teddy bear motif babygrow.

Police body-worn camera footage captured the moment the defendants were arrested after buying supplies in Brighton last 27 February.

Two days later, two officers uncovered Victoria’s badly decomposed body on a nearby allotment.

She had been wrapped in a pink sheet and hidden beneath dirt and rubbish in the Lidl bag.

The defendants sat in the dock of the Old Bailey for the hearing on Wednesday. Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford said: “Following today’s hearing before his honour Judge Mark Lucraft KC, I can now confirm that Mark Gordon and Constance Marten have been convicted of concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice.

“The jury could not reach a verdict for both Mark Gordon and Constance Marten on other charges and the investigation team from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, alongside our partners from the Crown Prosecution Service, will now prepare for a retrial in March 2025.

“We will not be making any further public statements until the conclusion of the retrial.

“Our focus has always been, and remains, securing justice for baby Victoria.”