Constance Marten’s father tells of ‘enormous relief’ after aristocrat daughter found - and fears for missing baby

The father of Constance Marten says it is “an immense relief” that his aristocrat daughter has been found after 54 days on the run - but news her baby is missing is “very alarming”.

The new mother and her partner, convicted sex offender Mark Gordon, were arrested by police on suspicion of child neglect after they were spotted by a member of the public in Brighton on Monday night.

Their baby, believed to be born in January, was not with them and the couple have not disclosed its location or gender to police, prompting a major search operation in Sussex involving hundreds of officers.

Police search teams in Roedale Valley Allotments, Brighton (PA)
Police search teams in Roedale Valley Allotments, Brighton (PA)

The couple had been missing since early January, when police believe Ms Marten gave birth in or near a car without any medical attention. There are grave concerns for the newborn after police believe the family slept in a tent in sub-zero temperatures.

Ms Marten’s father, Napier Marten, film and music producer and former page to the late Queen, had issued emotional pleas for his daughter to return home.

Following her arrest he told the Independent on Tuesday: “It is an immense relief to know my beloved daughter Constance has been found, tempered by the very alarming news her baby has yet to be found.

“For whatever reasons she and her partner went on the run, the consequences of their actions have increased many fold. It would have been far better if they had handed themselves in earlier.”

Napier Marten (ES)
Napier Marten (ES)

Mr Marten thanked police for their resources and “dogged investigation”, and also thanked the member of the public who recognised the couple from media reports and called police.

“When the time comes, I am longing to see Constance to reassure her that, whatever the weather, I love her dearly and will support her as best I can through the difficult weeks and months here on in.”

The couple are understood to have lived an isolated life since meeting in 2016, with then-drama student Ms Marten cutting off ties with family and friends.

Mr Marten has been estranged from his “darling” daughter.

In an earlier appeal to her daughter, he said: “We are deeply concerned for your and your baby’s welfare. The past eight years have been beyond painful for all the family as well as your friends, as they must have been for you, and to see you so vulnerable again is testing in the extreme.”

He called on officers to look into the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, where he said his daughter lived for six months under TB Joshua, a pastor he believes to be a “phoney prophet”.

After returning, Mr Marten added his daughter spoke about experiencing paranormal activity which became “quite scary”.

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon
Constance Marten and Mark Gordon

Ms Marten grew up in Crichel House, a Dorset estate, as part of an eminent family with links to the royals. Her grandmother was a playmate of Princess Margaret.

Her mother, Virginie de Selliers, also made appeals for her daughter’s safe return. She has not commented publicly following arrest.

Issuing an emotional open letter to her daughter shared this month, she wrote: “You have made choices in your personal adult life which have proven to be challenging, however, I respect them. I know that you want to keep your precious newborn child at all costs.

“With all that you have gone through this baby cannot be removed from you but instead needs looking after in a kind and warm environment.

“I want to help you and my grandchild. You deserve the opportunity to build a new life, establish a stable family and enjoy the same freedoms that most of us have.”