Police offer £10,000 reward for information that tracks down missing couple and baby
Detectives are offering a £10,000 reward for information that helps them to locate an aristocrat and her sex offender boyfriend who have gone missing with their newborn baby.
Constance Marten, 35, has been living off-grid since fleeing more than three weeks ago with her day-old baby and partner Mark Gordon, 48, who served 20 years in a US jail for rape and battery.
Police are “extremely concerned” about the baby’s safety, believing the family have been sleeping in a tent in sub-zero temperatures, and with them having received no medical attention since the birth in early January.
Scotland Yard on Tuesday announced “a £10,000 reward for information that leads to them being found”.
The last official sighting of the family was around 1.25am on Sunday, January 8, when they caught a taxi from Allison Road in Haringey to Newhaven on the East Sussex coast, where they were dropped off just outside the port shortly before 5am.
Police say they understand the family are still in the country, and do not believe they boarded a ferry.
The police investigation started when officers were called to the couple’s car on fire on the hard-shoulder of the M61, near Bolton, on the evening of January 5.
They had fled the scene, and most of their belongings are thought to have been destroyed in the blaze.
A missing persons investigation was launched by Greater Manchester Police, who established that they travelled to Liverpool and onwards to Harwich via a taxi in the early hours of January 6.
The investigation was taken over the by the Metropolitan Police when it discovered the family travelled to East Ham in London on January 7.
They then took a taxi from East Ham to Whitechapel Road in the East End about 6.15pm on January 7.
The couple were seen leaving the taxi with an orange carrier bag and a pram. They both had their heads and faces covered and Gordon was wearing white plastic bags on his shoes, which he removed a short time later.
Gordon then went into Argos on Whitechapel Road and paid in cash for two big bags full of items, including a blue two-man tent, two sleeping bags and two pillows – which prompted fears they have been camping during freezing wintry conditions.
The family were last officially sighted in the early hours of January 8, when they took a taxi from Allison Road in Haringey to the port of Newhaven.
Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, who is leading the investigation, said: “We continue to be extremely concerned about the health and wellbeing of the newborn baby, which has had no medical care and has been on the move, and possibly exposed to sub-zero temperatures, for almost a month now.
“We’re also concerned for the welfare of Constance and Mark, because our enquiries suggest that they were constantly moving and awake for at least a few days – which must be especially draining on someone who had recently given birth with no medical attention.
“Finding the baby is our top priority and we are now offering a £10,000 reward to anyone who provides information which leads to them being found.
“Maybe you have been reluctant to come forward before, for whatever reason, with key information to help us find the family. It does not matter why you did not speak to us earlier, what matters is doing the right thing now for the good of a vulnerable newborn baby.
“Maybe you saw them wandering the streets? Perhaps they asked you for directions? Maybe they got into your taxi, or they came into your establishment to buy food and drink?
“Please contact us with any information you have, because every single bit of information we get will assist us with finding them.
“I’d like to stress that if you have taken cash to provide a service to the family, whether that’s giving them a lift, accommodation or something else, that you are not in any sort of trouble, we just need to hear from you.”
Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford added: “We have no evidence to suggest that they boarded a ferry in Newhaven, and we still strongly believe that they remain here in the UK – although they could be anywhere. Our enquiries also establish that the baby was alive and with them when they got the taxi to Newhaven.
“We know they were still in possession of camping equipment on Sunday, January 8 and so I’d encourage people to remain vigilant and keep a look out for a blue tent.
“Please keep your eyes peeled, especially while you are out and about in waste ground or beauty spots, or while you’re walking the dog, and report any information to us.”
Ms Marten’s father Napier Marten, a former page to the late Queen whose grandfather was the 3rd Baron Alington, made an emotional appeal for her safe return earlier this month.
Ms Marten grew up in Crichel House, a Dorset estate and her grandmother was a playmate of Princess Margaret.
She was a promising drama student until she met Gordon in 2016. Since then the couple have led an isolated life cut off from family and friends.
From around September last year they began living in a series of AirBnBs around the country on short lets and amassed a significant about of cash to enable them to live off-grid and avoid the attention of the authorities.
Anyone who has information on the family’s whereabouts should call the incident room on 020 7175 0785.
Alternatively, information can be reported 100 per cent anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask for personal details and they do not trace your device.