Constance Marten and Mark Gordon arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon
Constance Marten and Mark Gordon disappeared with a newborn baby more than seven weeks ago

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon have been further arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter as police search for their missing baby.

Police say they must now consider the possibility the infant “has come to harm”.

But they say they still hope to find the baby safe and well.

The couple were arrested in Brighton on Monday – initially on suspicion of child neglect – after being missing for 53 days. The baby was not with them.

They were held after a member of the public saw them in a shop in the Fiveways area of north Brighton, and called the police. They remain in custody.

The search for Ms Marten and Gordon – a convicted rapist and registered sex offender – began when their car was found ablaze by the side of a motorway on 5 January.

Police established Ms Marten had recently given birth without a midwife or any medical attention.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday evening, Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, from the Metropolitan Police, said the risk to the baby increased as time went on, especially amid cold weather.

He added that police must now “be open to the fact this may not end in the way we would like”.

More than 200 officers are searching a 91-square-mile site in Sussex, but daylight has run out and temperatures are forecast to drop to 1C overnight.

Sniffer dogs, drones, a police helicopter and thermal imaging cameras are being used in the search.

Police have asked members of the public between Brighton and Newhaven – where the previous last known sighting of the couple was made on 8 January – to report any potential sightings, or information about where they may have been sleeping.

Local residents have also been asked to check sheds and outbuildings.

Investigators believe Ms Marten and Gordon have been living “in open land and open areas”.

Allotments and a golf course next to a nature reserve have been intensively searched throughout the day.

Det Supt Basford told journalists that little information had been gathered during police interviews with the couple and that police did not yet know the sex of their baby.

Police have not ruled out that someone could be harbouring the baby, though they said this was unlikely.

After the car fire in January, police said the family safely left the scene and travelled to Liverpool, Essex, London and East Sussex in quick succession.

Police believe the baby was alive at the time of the last previous sighting of the family in Newhaven, but little more is known about the family’s movements in the weeks since.

At the end of January, police offered a £10,000 reward for information, appealing especially to anyone who might have helped the couple.

The couple’s home is in Eltham, in south-east London, but they have been living nomadically since September last year, when Ms Marten first started to show signs of pregnancy.

After the pair were found on Monday, Ms Marten’s father Napier Marten told the Independent he felt “immense relief”, though this was “tempered by the very alarming news [Ms Marten’s] baby has yet to be found”.

Ms Marten, 35, is from a privileged background, having lived in a stately home growing up and attended private school.

Police previously said her inherited wealth may have allowed the couple to remain at large for an extended period.

She became estranged from her family after meeting 48-year-old Gordon at drama school in 2016.

Map of previous sightings of the couple around the UK

 

Source: bbc.co.uk

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