Constance Marten and Mark Gordon trial: Couple's newborn baby 'did not stand a chance', court hears

A newborn baby girl who died after being taken to live in a tent in wintry conditions would still be alive if it was not for her parents' actions, according to prosecutors.

Constance Marten, 36, and her partner Mark Gordon, 49, are accused of several charges, including manslaughter by gross negligence and causing or allowing the death of a child.

Marten had told "big fat lies" over her daughter's death - lies that "fell from her mouth like confetti in the wind when she gave evidence", prosecutors alleged, adding Gordon "did not dare" to give evidence, with his "silence deafening".

Their Old Bailey trial has heard how the couple went on the run from authorities in early 2023 in an attempt to keep baby Victoria after their four older children were taken into care.

They lived off-grid in a "flimsy" tent on the South Downs during last winter, and in her "very short life" Victoria "did not stand a chance", the court was told.

In a closing speech on Monday, prosecutor Tom Little KC said: "That is the cold, hard, brutal reality of this case. There is no point in soft-soaping it.

"Baby Victoria would still be alive if it was not for the actions and inactions of these two defendants. Nobody else is to blame are they?"

'Neglected and exposed to dangerous conditions'

Mr Little described Victoria as a "freezing cold baby girl with just a single babygrow and one vest, no hat", who was "neglected and exposed to dangerous conditions".

The court heard Victoria was found dead in a supermarket "bag for life" wearing just a soiled nappy and hidden beneath "waste and detritus" in a disused allotment shed in Brighton on 1 March last year.

The pair, who had abandoned their car after it burst into flames near Bolton, Greater Manchester, on 5 January 2023, were arrested in Brighton a few weeks later on 27 February.

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The prosecutor alleged Marten had told "big fat lies", including her claim that a buggy - bought and discarded in London the same day - had a "sub-zero sleeping bag" on it, unlike the one shown to the jury with a "foot muff".

Pointing to the replica buggy exhibited in court, Mr Little said: "There was going to be some kind of muff-off in this case between this version, and this mythical version."

Not only was Marten's version a "demonstrable lie", it was delivered with "self-righteous indignation" as part of a "well-crafted" act to "pull the wool" over jurors' eyes, Mr Little went on.

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.

The Old Bailey trial continues.