Constance Marten and Mark Gordon guilty of two charges

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon guilty of two charges

4 hours agoBy Daniel Sandford, BBC home affairs correspondentPA An Old Bailey jury was discharged in the case of Mark Gordon and Constance Marten after being unable to reach verdicts earlier this month

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon have been found guilty of concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice, it can now be reported.

After legal restrictions were lifted, the media can report the guilty verdicts delivered by a jury during the couple’s first trial, which began in January.

The jury was discharged last week after failing to reach verdicts on some charges.

The couple had faced charges in this trial of manslaughter by gross negligence, causing or allowing the death of a child, child cruelty, concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice.

They had both pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The pair will now face a retrial, possibly in March 2025, and will remain in custody.

The original jury returned the two guilty verdicts on 23 May, before they were discharged.

Mark Gordon, 50, and Constance Marten, 37, first came to public attention in January 2023 when police launched a very public manhunt after evidence of a recent birth was found in a burnt-out car near Bolton.

The couple were eventually found in Brighton on 27 February but there was no sign of the baby.

The newborn – who they had called Victoria – was found dead two days later in a shopping bag in an allotment in the Hollingbury area of Brighton.

They went on trial on 25 January, but there were a series of delays caused by – among other things – a fire at the Old Bailey. This meant the case overran leading to further delays because of the Easter holidays and half-term.

The jury heard that Victoria was born while the couple were trying to avoid social services after their four previous children had been removed by the family court.

They had been living in rented cottages and hotels, but not long after the baby’s birth the couple’s car caught fire on the M62 near Bolton. They abandoned the vehicle with many of their belongings in it, and travelled through the night by taxi to Harwich.

There they became aware of the police manhunt after members of the public appeared to recognise them, and they moved on again, buying a £40 tent from Argos in east London.

Two and a half days after the fire the couple were seen on CCTV walking onto the South Downs just outside Newhaven.

The prosecution said that the baby died in the subsequent weeks, possibly from exposure from camping in January, though the post-mortem examination could not determine the cause of death.

But giving evidence for several days in the witness box Constance Marten told the jury that she had not exposed Victoria to dangerous conditions and had fallen asleep holding Victoria on the second day of camping, waking up to find the baby dead.

She said the couple had carried their dead child around for weeks, even taking her to the beach in Brighton one day.

The jury deliberations were badly disrupted by holidays. On

But by 19 June it was clear that they could not reach a verdict on

At the Old Bailey

He lifted reporting restrictions that had prevented the media reporting the two guilty verdicts that the jury had returned.

In a statement, Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford of the Metropolitan Police said the “investigation team from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, alongside our partners from the Crown Prosecution Service, will now prepare for a re-trial”.

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

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon trial

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