Constance Marten and Mark Gordon charged with gross negligence manslaughter of baby

Runaway couple Constance Marten and Mark Gordon have been charged with the manslaughter of their baby, concealing a birth and perverting the course of justice.

The pair will appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Friday, the same day as a post-mortem examination is carried out on the remains of an infant discovered in woodland on Wednesday.

Barry Hughes, chief crown prosecutor for CPS London North, said the Crown Prosecution Service had authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge the pair after the body was found.

“Constance Marten, aged 35, and Mark Gordon, aged 48, have also been charged with concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice. These charges arise from their arrest on Monday as a result of a lengthy police investigation to establish their whereabouts and that of their baby.

“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Constance Marten and Mark Gordon are active and that they have the right to a fair trial.”

An infant’s remains were found on Wednesday after a major two-day search operation in Sussex.

Marten, who comes from an aristocratic family with royal connections, and Gordon, were arrested at Stanmer Villas in Brighton on Monday after avoiding the attention of police for seven weeks.

The couple first disappeared when their car was found abandoned and on fire at the edge of the M61 on 5 January.

From there they travelled around the country by taxi, paying for everything in cash, covering their faces while on CCTV and moving locations frequently, often after dark.

More than 200 officers joined the search for the couple, who were believed to be booking into hotels under pseudonyms.

Nearly two weeks after they disappeared, Marten’s father, Napier Marten, appealed through The Independent for his daughter to hand herself in, saying: “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.”

CCTV footage from just before they were arrested appears to show Gordon limping and using a stick to walk.

The Metropolitan Police say it was too early to provide a specific date of death of the baby, adding that he or she had been dead for several weeks.

They have denied reports that a member of the public found the baby’s remains, saying an officer uncovered them.

In their search this week, officers had combed an area around the city, including in allotments and a wildlife park, using drones, sniffer dogs, thermal imaging cameras and helicopters.

On Thursday night, local people held a vigil, with candles, in honour of the dead child, and have lain flowers near where the body was discovered.

As they announced the discovery, police said they were treating the area as a crime scene and work there was expected to continue for some time.

People left flowers and teddy bears in Golf Drive, Brighton, after the remains were found

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