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Constance Marten trial – latest: Aristocrat accused of killing newborn calls baby’s death a ‘horrible accident’

Constance Marten trial – latest: Aristocrat accused of killing newborn calls baby’s death a ‘horrible accident’

Aristocrat Constance Marten has called the death of her newborn baby a “horrible accident” that “could’ve happened to anyone”.

Marten, 36, and her partner Mark Gordon, 49, are on trial after their daughter Victoria died while they were camping on the South Downs in wintry conditions last year.

Following their arrests last February, the infant’s badly decomposed body was found in an allotment shed inside a Lidl supermarket bag that also contained soil and rubbish.

On Thursday, her fifth day of giving evidence in her trial, the mother was also cross-examined at the Old Bailey about the couple’s decision to buy a tent and live off grid to hide from authorities, telling jurors: “Babies don’t require that much to survive.”

The couple deny charges of gross negligence manslaughter of Victoria between 4 January and 27 February last year, charges of perverting the course of justice by concealing the body, along with concealing the birth of a child, child cruelty, and allowing the death of a child.

The trial resumes on Friday when the cross-examination of Marten is set to continue.

Key Points

  • Marten calls baby’s death a ‘horrible accident’ that ‘could’ve happened to anyone’, jurors hear

  • Mother belives ‘babies don’t require that much to survive’, hears court

  • ‘Jesus survived in a barn,’ Marten counters to scrutiny over tent use

  • On-the-run mother becomes emotional: ‘I would rather my child be alive'

  • Marten told jurors she feels ‘responsible’ for ‘falling asleep’ on baby Victoria

  • Marten feared she would never get her other children back after baby’s death, court told

  • Constance Marten says she did nothing but show daughter love

Trial adjourns for day

Thursday 14 March 2024 16:14 , Tara Cobham, In Court

The trial of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon has adjourned for the day.

The cross-examination of Marten is set to resume at the Old Bailey tomorrow when the trial continues.

Marten admits to court Victoria ‘could’ve had better’ after death

Thursday 14 March 2024 16:12 , Tara Cobham, In Court

Constance Marten has admitted to a court that her newborn daughter “could’ve had better” after she died.

During her cross-examination at the Old Bailey, the mother was questioned by the prosecution over the decision to put Victoria’s remains in a plastic ‘bag for life’ bag.

Prosecutor Joel Smith asked: “Is putting her in a ‘bag for life’ the best that anyone could give her?” Marten replied: “Of course it’s not.”

However, she caveated: “But that’s not my child… it’s a part of her, but it’s not her… I think we’re all more than our flesh, we’re spirit, our body is our casing.”

Pressed again, Marten told jurors: “After she passed away, of course she could’ve had better.”

The plastic Lidl bag in which the body of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon’s baby Victoria was found (Metropolitan Police)
The plastic Lidl bag in which the body of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon’s baby Victoria was found (Metropolitan Police)

Baby was sitting in own faeces when body put in plastic bag, mother suggests to court

Thursday 14 March 2024 16:06 , Tara Cobham

Baby Victoria was sitting in her own faeces when her body was put in a plastic bag, her mother has suggested to a court.

A tearful Constance Marten was pushed by the prosecution over the state the newborn was left in after the 36-year-old admitted to putting her remains in a ‘bag for life’ bag.

Marten told the Old Bailey: “I found it too difficult to change her nappy after she passed, so I wrapped her in a blanket and put her in the bag. I had no intention of keeping her in the bag. I know it looks awful objectively – but neither of us were in the right frame mind.”

She said she feared at the time that people would think of her as an “evil woman who has just killed her child” once they found out about her daughter’s death.

Marten added: “We weren’t in a normal situation… it was a nightmare.”

Mother repeatedly tells court: ‘Babies don’t need that much'

Thursday 14 March 2024 15:21 , Tara Cobham

The mother has repeatedly told the court that “babies don’t need that much” as she stands accused of the manslaughter of her newborn daughter alongside her partner Mark Gordon.

Marten told jurors at the Old Bailey as she gave evidence for a fifth day: “Babies don’t need that much – they need food, they need warmth, they need love. They can cope as long as me as a parent can give her what she needs.”

She added: “You don’t need that many items for a newborn baby.”

Marten calls baby’s death a ‘horrible accident’ that ‘could’ve happened to anyone’, jurors hear

Thursday 14 March 2024 15:18 , Tara Cobham

Constance Marten has insisted that what happened to her baby “could’ve happened to anyone” as she described the newborn’s death as a “horrible accident”.

The mother told jurors it was her falling asleep that led to her daughter’s death. During cross-examination at the Old Bailey on Thursday, she said: “She died because I fell asleep.”

Rejecting the prosecution’s suggestion that she put Victoria in a position that endangered the infant, she said instead the baby’s death “was a horrible accident that happened,” adding: “It could’ve happened to anyone.”

She also refuted the notion that Victoria had died from hypothermia amid the wintry conditions of the tent the pair were living in alongside Mark Gordon on the South Downs.

Marten told the court: “She did not die of hypothermia – I would not have put my baby in a situation where she would have died from hypothermia.”

Mother insisting she gave best to Victoria says living in tent was ‘self-sacrifice’ for baby, court hears

Thursday 14 March 2024 14:55 , Tara Cobham

Constance Marten has insisted she gave the best to her baby that anyone could as a court heard her describe living in tent as a “self-sacrifice” for newborn Victoria.

When discussing their time spent in wintry conditions in a tent on the South Downs, the mother was asked by the prosecution: “Is this the best anyone could’ve given her?” She replied, “Yes, because you don’t understand the situation we were in,” citing the intense media interest in their case and the incident when their car went up in flames.

Referring to their time living in the tent with Mark Gordon, she told the Old Bailey: “What we were doing was for Victoria – it was a self-sacrificing act. I did it because I loved her so much that I would’ve done anything to save her.”

Marten admits to jurors Victoria was not ‘constantly’against her skin while in tent

Thursday 14 March 2024 14:41 , Tara Cobham

Constance Marten has admitted her baby was not “constantly” against her skin while the pair were in a tent in the South Downs in wintry conditions last year.

Pressing Marten, prosecutor Joel Smith put it to the mother that Victoria “wasn’t constantly against your skin”. The 36-year-old replied: “She was most of the time… there were moments when she wasn’t.”

Constance Marten has admitted her baby was not ‘constantly’ against her skin while the pair were in a tent in the South Downs in wintry conditions last year (PA Media)
Constance Marten has admitted her baby was not ‘constantly’ against her skin while the pair were in a tent in the South Downs in wintry conditions last year (PA Media)

Mother belives ‘babies don’t require that much to survive’, hears court

Thursday 14 March 2024 14:35 , Tara Cobham

The mother has told the court she believes “babies don’t require that much to survive”.

As she is questioned over the conditions in the tent she and Mark Gordon lived in when they were on the run, Constance Marten told jurors at the Old Bailey: “People have survived without houses and hospitals for millennia. Babies don't require that much to survive – they just need food, warmth and care.”

Constance Marten returns to witness stand

Thursday 14 March 2024 14:32 , Tara Cobham

Constance Marten has returned to the witness stand at the Old Bailey on her fifth day of giving evidence.

She continues to be cross-examined by prosecutor Joel Smith as she and Mark Gordon stand trial.

Court breaks for lunch

Thursday 14 March 2024 13:37 , Tara Cobham

The trial has adjourned for a lunch break.

The cross-examination of Constance Marten is expected to continue.

Mother admits to lying before and says she would lie again ‘to save my child’, court hears

Thursday 14 March 2024 13:35 , Tara Cobham, In Court

Constance Marten has admitted to having lied before as she said she would lie again “to save my child”, a court has heard.

During her cross-examination at the Old Bailey on Thursday, she told prosecutor Joel Smith: “I think what you’re alluding to is I’m just a liar because I’ve lied once before.”

She added: “I would be prepared to lie to save my child, of course I would.”

Constance Marten has accused the defence counsel of alluding to her being a liar as she admitted to having lied before, a court has heard (PA Wire)
Constance Marten has accused the defence counsel of alluding to her being a liar as she admitted to having lied before, a court has heard (PA Wire)

Tearful Marten says children are a parent’s ‘pride and joy’ as she defends her actions at Old Bailey

Thursday 14 March 2024 13:30 , Tara Cobham, In Court

The tearful mother has told jurors children are a parent’s “pride and joy” as she defends her actions at the Old Bailey.

Fighting back tears as she gave evidence, she added: “If there’s any fear of your child being taken from you, most parents would do anything.”

Marten believes she was ‘up against’ social services and ‘influential’ family, jurors hear

Thursday 14 March 2024 13:27 , Tara Cobham, In Court

Constance Marten has told jurors she was “up against” both social services and her “influential” family, who she said has connections in the Houses of Parliament.

Testifying at the Old Bailey for a fifth day, the mother said: “The problem I had was I wasn’t just up against social services – I was up against family members who are very influential and have huge connections in high places in this country, including in parliament.”

Mother claims those taking children into care could be influenced by ‘monetary gain’, court hears

Thursday 14 March 2024 13:20 , Tara Cobham, In Court

Constance Marten has told a court she believes those taking children into care could be influenced by “monetary gain”.

During her cross-examination, prosecutor Joel Smith put a number of claims to her from the website of Ian Joseph, who purports to offer free legal advice on forced adoption, family courts, and social services.

The mother was asked to respond to the website’s suggestion to “never contact child protection or social services for advice”.

She told jurors she believes that is “absolutely true”, adding: “This is my personal opinion – there is a lot of monetary gain in taking, especially very young babies, off parents.”

The 36-year-old was asked if she thought Mr Joseph’s advice was “good”, to which she responded: “To not let a social worker anywhere near your child? Yes, absolutely.”

The Old Bailey has previously heard Marten and her partner Mark Gordon went on the run from authorities in a bid to keep their baby Victoria after their four other children were taken into care.

Constance Marten, Mark Gordon and their baby Victoria in a shop in East Ham, London, when the couple were on the run last year (PA Media)
Constance Marten, Mark Gordon and their baby Victoria in a shop in East Ham, London, when the couple were on the run last year (PA Media)

Marten defends putting on fake accent in order to ‘escape family’, jurors told

Thursday 14 March 2024 13:09 , Tara Cobham, In Court

Constance Marten has defended putting on a fake accent and falsifying parts of the story she told while on the run from authorities in Wales, a court has heard.

Speaking of her newborn Victoria, she told jurors she was forced to in order to “save my child” from outside forces, namely her family, whom she believes did not agree with her having children. The 36-year-old’s four other children with Mark Gordon were taken into care, the court has previously been told.

The mother admitted at the Old Bailey: “In Wales, I masked my accent – but the story I gave was true to myself... except for the masked accent, and parts. But I had to escape my family who didn’t agree with me having children with Mark.”

She added: “My family will not stop at any length until they take my child off me.”

Constance Marten has defended putting on a fake accent and falsifying parts of the story she told while on the run from authorities in Wales, a court has heard (PA Wire)
Constance Marten has defended putting on a fake accent and falsifying parts of the story she told while on the run from authorities in Wales, a court has heard (PA Wire)

Marten believes her family are ‘highly embarrassed’ she had children with Gordon, court hears

Thursday 14 March 2024 12:54 , Tara Cobham

Constance Marten has said she believes her family are “highly embarrassed” she had children with Mark Gordon, a court has heard.

Testifying at the Old Bailey for a fifth day, she said: “My family didn’t agree with me having these children... They didn’t want anything to do with my children. They are highly embarrassed of the fact I had children with Mark.”

Jurors have previously been told four of the couple’s children were taken into care, with their newborn Victoria, their fifth, dying while they were on the run from authorities in a bid to keep her.

Constance Marten returns to witness stand for fifth day

Thursday 14 March 2024 12:18 , Tara Cobham

Constance Marten has returned to the witness stand today to give evidence for a fifth day as she stands trial at the Old Bailey.

The court heard the mother is feeling unwell today, reporting symptoms of nausea, with Judge Mark Lucraft KC reminding her: “If you don’t feel well enough to continue you will let me know.”

The jury has also filed into Court 5.

Yesterday, jurors heard:

  • Marten became agitated when asked about a teddy bear babygrow Victoria was wearing in CCTV footage from east London which was later among items recovered with her “dumped” body

  • Throughout the day, she was repeatedly questioned about their decision to camp in a tent in sub-zero temperatures with few possessions, stressing: “We were not looking to live in a tent. We were acting on instinct. She was our number one priority. We were living in a tent for Victoria”

  • Jurors have heard that Gordon and Marten went on the run from authorities in a bid to keep their baby after their four other children were taken into care. Giving her reasoning, the mother said that social services had “stolen” her children

  • She also took aim at her family, accusing them of involvement in the removal of her children: “I have had a very privileged upbringing but my family are used to getting what they want and they won’t stop until they get it”

Evidence heard yesterday as Marten set to resume testifying at midday

Thursday 14 March 2024 11:50 , Tara Cobham

The trial of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon is resuming today, with the jury expected to sit from midday as the cross-examination of the mother will continue.

Yesterday, the Old Bailey heard:

  • The aristocrat accused of killing her baby defended living off-grid while on the run with her newborn, telling jurors: “Jesus survived in a barn, didn’t he?”

  • She argued their period living in a tent on the South Downs was being looked at from a “Western perspective”, adding that Bedouin families walk through cold deserts with children while others live in shanty towns

  • Marten became tearful when questioned if she was responsible for her baby’s death, replying: “I think to a degree of course, I feel responsible as her mum for her death but at the same time I have to love and forgive myself”

  • She strongly rejected the prosecution’s “ridiculous” suggestion that she had carried her daughter in a Lidl “bag for life” when she was alive

Marten to return to stand for fifth day

Thursday 14 March 2024 10:36 , Sam Rkaina

Constance Marten is due to return to the stand at the Old Bailey this morning, for the fifth day of giving evidence.

Marten, 36, and her partner, Mark Gordon, 49, are on trial after baby Victoria died while they were camping on the South Downs in wintry conditions last year.

The defendants, of no fixed address, deny manslaughter by gross negligence, perverting the course of justice, concealing the birth of a child, child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child.

‘Jesus survived in a barn’: Constance Marten defends living in tent with newborn

Thursday 14 March 2024 10:30 , Tara Cobham

An aristocrat accused of killing her baby has defended living off-grid while on the run with her newborn, telling jurors: “Jesus survived in a barn, didn’t he?”.

Constance Marten, 36, and her partner, Mark Gordon, 49, are on trial after baby Victoria died while they were camping on the South Downs in wintry conditions last year.

While being cross-examined at the Old Bailey, she argued their period living in a tent on the South Downs was being looked at from a “Western perspective”, adding that Bedouin families walk through cold deserts with children while others live in shanty towns.

Holly Evans reports:

‘Jesus survived in a barn’: Aristocrat accused of killing baby defends living in tent

Trial has adjourned for the day

Wednesday 13 March 2024 16:20 , Holly Evans

The trial of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon has adjourned for the day and will resume tomorrow at 10.30am where the cross-examination will continue.

Tearful Marten admits feeling ‘responsible’ for baby’s death

Wednesday 13 March 2024 15:54 , Holly Evans

Further questioned about the appropriate use of a tent for a newborn, Marten became emotional when she recalled the “awful” memory of her daughter’s death.

“I do feel responsible for her death absolutely but I do not think it had anything to do with being in a tent, it could have happened in a hotel when I fell asleep ,” she said.

“I don’t think being in the tent was the wrong thing to do, I think me being exhausted and sitting up at that time was very unfortunate yes.”

When questioned “Are you responsible for her death?”, she tearfully responded: “I think to a degree of course, I feel responsible as her mum for her death but at the same time I have to love and forgive myself because it was a really awful set of circumstances but I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”

She continued: “I live with that sadness because she died in my arms.”

Constance Marten tearfully admitted feeling responsible for her daughter’s death on Wednesday (Elizabeth Cook/PA) (PA Wire)
Constance Marten tearfully admitted feeling responsible for her daughter’s death on Wednesday (Elizabeth Cook/PA) (PA Wire)

‘I’m not into conspiracy theories,’ Marten says

Wednesday 13 March 2024 15:24 , Holly Evans

Speaking of her plans to move to Europe with her family, Marten said she was aware of an “underground network” helping parents move away from social services.

When questioned by the prosecutor if she bought into conspiracy theories, she responded: “I’ve had a great education, I’m not into conspiracy theories.”

Marten denies accusation baby Victoria was placed in a bag

Wednesday 13 March 2024 14:45 , Holly Evans

Marten repeatedly dismissed as “ridiculous” the prosecution suggestion that she had carried her daughter in a Lidl “bag for life” when she was alive.

She said: “This whole line of reasoning is absurd, that she is alive in the bag.

“If i’d done that she would have been screaming, people would have noticed.

“I’m not going to put her alive in a Lidl bag, I’m sorry it is absurd.”

Baby Victoria’s body was found in a Lidl bag in an allotment shed several weeks later after the couple were arrested near Brighton.

Baby Victoria was found in a red Lidl carrier bag (Metropolitan Police)
Baby Victoria was found in a red Lidl carrier bag (Metropolitan Police)

‘We were in a tent because we cared for her so much,’ mother says

Wednesday 13 March 2024 14:38 , Holly Evans

Pushed again on why they as a couple had made the decision to live in a tent after arriving in East Ham, Marten responded: “We were in a tent because we cared for her so much, we weren’t in a tent because me and Mark had a penchant for tents.”

“She’s the reason we’re doing what we’re doing,” she added.

The court heard that at the time, Marten had £17k in her Metro account and a “couple of thousand” in her Halifax bank account.

Questioned why they had purchased a tent from Argos, she said: “It was the easiest place, it’s not easy to get a tent in the middle of January.”

Trial has resumed

Wednesday 13 March 2024 14:12 , Holly Evans

Judge Mark Lucraft KC has returned to Court 5 of the Old Bailey, and the trial of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon has resumed.

Court breaks for lunch

Wednesday 13 March 2024 13:16 , Holly Evans

The trial has adjourned for a lunch and will return at 2pm.

Cross-examination is expected to continue as Marten faces questioning about the couple’s decision to live in a tent last January with their newborn.

‘Jesus survived in a barn,’ Marten counters to scrutiny over tent use

Wednesday 13 March 2024 13:15 , Holly Evans

Questioned further on their use of tent during sub-zero temperatures with a newborn, Marten responded that Bedouin families walk through cold deserts with children, adding: “Jesus survived in a barn.

She repeated that their intention had not been to live permanently or for a prolonged period in a tent but had decided to do so after a manhunt was launched by police.

Following media appeals for their whereabouts, she said: “We weren’t just running from private investigators hired by my family or the police or social services, we were pretty much running from the entire public.”

She also recalled that she and her husband had previously lived in a tent before the birth of their eldest child, and stressed: “My number one priority was to keep my baby.”

“I’ve grown up with a lot of luxury”, Marten says

Wednesday 13 March 2024 12:58 , Holly Evans

Answering questions about the couple’s decision to purchase a tent and live off-grid, Marten refused to be drawn on whether it was a “big” choice, stressing that she did so to ensure her child was not taken by social services.

“I don’t particularly want to be in a tent, I’ve grown up with a lot of luxury,” she said. “I like the feathered duvets and comfort but I will do whatever is necessary. I will do anything for my baby, anything.”

When pressed about the suitability of a tent for a newborn, she said: “Of course it’s not comfortable, I’d rather be in a plush bed in a palace.”

However, she stressed that the decision to live in a tent was only meant to be for a “pitstop” until they found somewhere to live in the countryside.

“It’s a situation you can’t really prepare for, you act on instinct,” she said. “A mother’s love for her child is very strong and no way was I going to part with my child.”

Constance Marten carrying her newborn under her jacket before purchasing a tent (Metropolitan Police)
Constance Marten carrying her newborn under her jacket before purchasing a tent (Metropolitan Police)

Trial resumes after a brief break

Wednesday 13 March 2024 12:31 , Holly Evans

The trial has resumed after Marten and the jurors received a short break ahead of further questioning from Mr Smith.

Marten criticises ‘Western perspective’ when facing questions about use of tent

Wednesday 13 March 2024 12:27 , Holly Evans

Marten has repeated her claim that the court is looking from a “Western perspective” at the couple’s decision to use a tent.

“You thought this was okay?” Mr Smith repeatedly asked. “I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think it was okay,” Marten responded.

“I just think you’re looking at this from a Western perspective, people live in shanti towns and people have lived across the world in tents.”

This echoed her comments during last week’s cross-examination, when she referred to refugees living in Calais and people living in igloos.

“We weren’t intending to live in a tent, we were intending to lay low for a while,” she said.

Couple were ‘ridiculously ill-prepared’ to care for newborn baby

Wednesday 13 March 2024 12:03 , Holly Evans

Accusing the couple of treating their newborn in a “cavalier fashion”, Mr Smith showed the jury a video of them holding Victoria in a kebab shop in East Ham which appeared to show her head unsupported.

In response, she repeatedly stressed: “You’re trying to make something of nothing, she’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with her.”

Mr Smith replied: “Is that the issue in this case, you never understand what’s wrong?”

Becoming frustrated, Marten responded that her older children had been taken from her and that social services had said that they were “happy, well-fed, well-looked after, content children”.

Marten refutes claim she ‘dumped’ her baby in a rubbish bag

Wednesday 13 March 2024 11:32 , Holly Evans

Taking issue with Mr Smith’s phrase that her baby Victoria was “dumped” in a Lidl rubbish bag, she said: “Don’t use that word, I would say the word placed not dumped”.

She told jurors: “It’s awful, I know. The only thing I can say, if someone passes away the immediate reaction is panic.

“I don’t think you can comprehend something unless you’re going through it,” she told jurors. “Mark and I weren’t in a good place, we were completely gripped with fear and grief.”

When countered that a sandwich wrapper and a beer can had also been found in the bag, she responded: “The can was quite a while afterwards.”

Red Lidl bag in which the body of their baby was found (Metropolitan Police)
Red Lidl bag in which the body of their baby was found (Metropolitan Police)

Mother grilled on baby clothes and use of sling

Wednesday 13 March 2024 11:14 , Holly Evans

Beginning his questioning, Mr Smith has repeatedly asked Marten about her use of a homemade sling, and whether it was appropriate to hide a newborn child under a jacket.

“I’ve always done that will all my kids,” Marten replied.

Recalling the items she and Gordon were carrying with them to keep Victoria warm, she recalls that they had a blue onesie, two baby grows, the clothes she was wearing and some undergarments. They also carried a quilt, a red blanket and a pink sheet.

Aristocrat returns to the witness box

Wednesday 13 March 2024 10:59 , Holly Evans

Ahead of the jury entering, Constance Marten has returned to the witness box for her fourth day of cross-examination.

She has appeared in court wearing a floral blouse, and is expected to face further questioning from prosecutor Joel Smith.

Marten to return for fourth day of evidence

Wednesday 13 March 2024 10:37 , Sam Rkaina

Constance Marten is due to return to the dock shortly.

Wednesday is the fourth day the aristocrat has been giving evidence in her trial at the Old Bailey.

Stay with us for the latest updates.

Trial concludes for the day

Monday 11 March 2024 16:06 , Holly Evans

The trial has adjourned for the day, with Constance Marten’s cross-examination due to resume on Wednesday morning at 10.30am.

Marten accuses press attention of altering witness recollections

Monday 11 March 2024 16:05 , Holly Evans

Becoming frustrated, Marten told the court that press attention to the case is “seriously affecting witnesses”, after she disagreed with a particular witness statement.

She added: “I think people are exaggerating and making things up. It can affect cases.

“I think people think that we are really bad people. Having such media attention can affect people’s witness statements.”

On-the-run mother becomes emotional: ‘I would rather my child be alive'

Monday 11 March 2024 15:18 , Holly Evans

When challenged by the prosecutor, Constance Marten broke down in tears in the witness stand when discussing whether she would have allowed social services near her child.

After replying “absolutely not” and taking aim at certain foster parents for failing the children in their care, she was pressed whether she would have refused authorities to be involved “whatever the consequences”.

She replied: “If I had foreseen what was going to happen then I would rather my child be alive.”

Pressed again, she became tearful and said: “Not whatever the consequences, if I had foreseen what happened with Victoria, of course I’d preferred her to have gone into care and have her life but I wasn’t prepared to have that gamble.”

Marten insists she and Gordon possessed a car seat

Monday 11 March 2024 14:45 , Holly Evans

During a heated exchange with Mr Smith, Constance Marten insisted that she and Mark Gordon had used a baby seat in their car.

She said that the two had been “overly cautious” in moving around the country, and had ensured that the baby seat was not visible to ensure that the authorities were not alerted to Victoria’s presence.

She said: “Anything related to the baby we would hide.”

Image of their car which was destroyed a few days after Victoria’s birth (PA)
Image of their car which was destroyed a few days after Victoria’s birth (PA)

Trial resumes after lunch break

Monday 11 March 2024 14:13 , Holly Evans

The 12 jurors have now returned to their seats and Constance Marten has returned to the witness box to continue being cross-examined.

Jury retires for lunch

Monday 11 March 2024 12:54 , Holly Evans

This morning’s proceedings have now come to an end, with the jury due to return at 2pm to continue Constance Marten’s cross-examination.

Marten claims GPS trackers were found under their cars

Monday 11 March 2024 12:53 , Holly Evans

Marten told the court she believed vehicles the couple were using were being tampered with, and stated her belief that private investigators had been tailing them.

She also told jurors that she had avoided using her card in order to prevent her movements from being traced.

She said: “Having found GPS trackers under all of our cars, the way  every single one of our cars has just stopped in the middle of the motorway… I believe that happened because I used my card that night.”

‘I am excellent mother,” Marten tells court

Monday 11 March 2024 12:35 , Holly Evans

Marten has faced questioning this morning over her decisions on whether to register her child with a doctor or for school, and her intentions in fleeing abroad with her newborn baby.

Claiming that her other four children had been “stolen by the state”, she said of her daughter Victoria: “She deserves to be with me, I’m a good mother.

“I’m an excellent mother actually and she deserves my love and attention.”

Marten planned to pay someone to smuggle her child abroad

Monday 11 March 2024 11:59 , Holly Evans

Joel Smith, prosecuting, asked: “You wanted to find someone and pay them to smuggle your child abroad?”

Marten confirmed and said she would liked to use a nanny or a professional.

When asked “Do you think nannies take money to smuggle people abroad?”, she responded: “Where there’s a will there’s a way.

“I would have found someone online like on Gumtree, nannies who don’t necessarily have the same qualifications as nursery teachers but you can go and spend time with them and see how they are with children.

“I would have either brought her abroad with me or given her to someone.”

Constance Marten planned to smuggle her baby abroad (PA Wire)
Constance Marten planned to smuggle her baby abroad (PA Wire)

Couple plotted to take newborn baby abroad

Monday 11 March 2024 11:54 , Holly Evans

Speaking about their intention to take baby Victoria abroad, Marten says they had planned to illegally smuggle themselves to Europe but had struggled to make the right connections or formulate a plan to do so.

Blaming social services, she said: “They put me in a situation where I didn’t know what to do.”

“I would have given her to a carer who doesn’t work with social services, a nanny or someone,” she said.

Marten claims family member made a court order preventing her to travel

Monday 11 March 2024 11:43 , Holly Evans

Speaking at the Old Bailey, Constance Marten claims that a family member had prevented her from going abroad by allegedly instilling a travel ban through the High Court.

Answering questions from prosecutor Joel Smith, she told jurors that she and Mark Gordon had planned to go abroad to raise baby Victoria, but had been unable to do so due an alleged court order preventing her from travelling abroad.

“They stated I was bearing children to sell on the back market and was a drug addict. It was completely outrageous.”

She claimed that this High Court case had been “behind her back” and that she was not represented and did not receive advice from a solicitor.

“My family have a lot of money, a lot of clout. and a lot of connections,” she said.

Constance Marten returns to the witness box

Monday 11 March 2024 11:22 , Holly Evans

Constance Marten has returned to the witness stand for her cross-examination by prosecutor Joel Smith to continue.

She is due to face further questioning throughout the day.

We’ll bring you all the latest updates here.

Trial has resumed

Monday 11 March 2024 10:51 , Holly Evans

The trial of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon has resumed, with legal arguments taking place before cross-examination continues at 11am.

Recap: Marten told jurors she feels ‘responsible’ for falling asleep on baby daughter

Monday 11 March 2024 09:22 , Holly Evans

During her cross examination on Friday, Constance Marten told jurors that she feels “responsible” for “falling asleep” on her newborn baby daughter.

She said that she and her partner Mark Gordon were in a “state of grief and fear” and that they had considered handing herself in to the police, but was worried she would be blamed for the infant’s death.

The 36-year-old added that she was “terrified” that she would have to stand trial, and said that she did not want the police to find baby Victoria’s remains.

However, she said that their daughter had been their “pride and joy” and that the newborn had been shown the maximum amount of love during her short life.

Criticising social services as “corrupt”, the aristocrat added that she had used a false identity to give birth to her first child in order to escape her family, who she described as “extremely oppressive and bigoted”.

Facing questions over whether it was safe to raise a newborn in a ten in winter, she argued that they were looking at it from a “Western perspective” and cited children living in igloos and in Mongolia as an example.

Constance Marten to return to the witness stand for third day

Monday 11 March 2024 08:51 , Holly Evans

Constance Marten is due to resume giving evidence on Monday morning at the Old Bailey, as she faces another day of questioning from prosecutor Joel Smith.

She previously gave evidence to jurors on Thursday and Friday and became emotional at points, as she described the death of her baby daughter Victoria.

Marten feels ‘responsible’ for death of her baby while on the run, court told

Friday 8 March 2024 17:49 , Tara Cobham

Aristocrat Constance Marten told jurors she feels “responsible” for “falling asleep” on her newborn while living in a tent on the run with Mark Gordon.

The 36-year-old mother-of-five, who denies gross negligence manslaughter of her daughter Victoria, told the Old Bailey the baby was her “pride and joy”.

The infant died while the couple were living off-grid in a tent in wintry conditions after going on the run to stop her from being taken into care like her four older siblings.

Crime Correspondent Amy-Clare Martin reports from the Old Bailey:

Constance Marten feels ‘responsible’ for death of her baby, court told

Parents stopped visits with children in care due to no CCTV at contact centres, court heard

Friday 8 March 2024 17:00 , Crime Correspondent Amy-Clare Martin, In Court

Challenged over why she stopped visiting her other children at contact centres between October 2021 and January 2022, Marten said it was because there was no CCTV.

She claimed she requested to only see her children in contact centres with cameras because social services were misrepresenting their visits in written reports.

“It was too dangerous to go in that environment,” she told the court, adding: “It’s not fair these people have got too much power and no accountability. It’s their word against ours.”

Marten denied abandoning one of her other children at hospital

Friday 8 March 2024 16:37 , Crime Correspondent Amy-Clare Martin, In Court

The mother insisted she did not abandon another child at hospital shortly after giving birth.

She said she “didn’t have a choice” and had to leave the baby at hospital after giving birth to prepare for a family court hearing.

She added she did not trust the hospital safeguarding team following a previous bad experience, adding: “I didn’t want to put myself back in that environment.”

Constance Marten insisted she did not abandon another child at hospital shortly after giving birth (PA Wire)
Constance Marten insisted she did not abandon another child at hospital shortly after giving birth (PA Wire)