This is the moment a mum accused of causing her newborn daughter’s death was arrested and refused to answer the question: ‘Where is your child?’
Dramatic bodyworn footage has emerged showing Constance Marten, 36, and her boyfriend Mark Gordon, 49, being tracked down by police.
The couple are on trial at the Old Bailey charged with the manslaughter of their baby girl Victoria.
They had allegedly been living with their young child off the grid in a tent on the South Downs while on the run.
But when they were arrested in Brighton on February 27 last year after almost two months of evading the authorities, their baby was nowhere to be seen.
Wealthy aristocrat Marten and her partner Gordon were eventually accosted in the Hollingbury area after a tip-off but wouldn’t reveal where Victoria was.
Two days later, the baby’s body was found in a Lidl supermarket bag covered in rubbish in a disused shed.
Footage from police sergeant Robert Button’s body-cam showed the moment they were detained at 9.35pm.
Sgt Button approaches Gordon and says: ‘Hello, sorry mate, can you stop for a second? Stop alright, I need to speak to you.’
When Gordon asked what for, Sgt Button said: ‘Well because potentially I think you may have been in the national news.’
Gordon started to run away but the officer caught up with him and told him on several occasions to put down the stick he was carrying.
While gripping hold of a shopping bag, Sgt Button tells Gordon: ‘Well at this moment in time, until I can confirm who you are, you’re both under arrest on suspicion of child neglect.’
‘Let me eat, let me eat, let me have my food,’ Gordon pleaded as he was arrested, before a distressed Marten intervened and said: ‘Stop with that, he’s not well.’
Marten continued: ‘Oh my god, I can’t watch. Leave him alone. Let him eat his food. He’s starving.’
A short while later, another officer then turned to Marten and told her: ‘I’ll level with you, you are under arrest for child neglect.’
Marten replied: ‘For doing what?’
She was then asked by officers: ‘Where’s your child? Where’s your child, madam? Where is the child?’
The officers briefly stopped to check and confirm her identity and again asked: ‘Where’s your child? Sorry, where is your child, we need to know?’
Marten completely ignored the question and didn’t respond.
A dog handler said: ‘Tell me now because I’m going to send the dog into the woods to try and find someone so you tell me where it is now.’
Amid a discussion about carrying out an ‘open search’, Marten was further arrested for concealment of the birth of a child.
Marten insisted it was ‘not an arrestable offence’, adding: ‘You can’t arrest someone for hiding a pregnancy.’
PC Matthew Colburn helped handcuff Gordon and asked repeatedly where the child was and whether it was alive as the defendant demanded food and drink.
On being given ginger beer, chicken and crisps from his shopping bag, the defendant asked for mayonnaise to go with it.
PC Colburn was heard on body worn video to say: ‘I’m not going to make you a sandwich, we’ve got a child to find.’
Gordon said he did not ‘want to talk’ and asked why finding the baby was the ‘bigger deal’.
The officer replied: ‘We need to potentially save a life. That’s the number one priority. It may not be your priority, but it’s everyone else’s priority.’
Gordon made muffled noises as he ate his crisps on the ground and PC Colburn queried: ‘The child is dead? The child is dead?’
The officer told Gordon he was concerned there was a ‘baby potentially on its own’, but said the defendant was ‘more interested in eating’.
He added: ‘I’m worried if we don’t find the child, your child might die, and that’s the most important thing right here, right now.’
Giving evidence in court, PC Colburn said he had never given a suspect food after arresting them before.
He told jurors: ‘I quickly came to the realisation they had potentially not eaten for days, weeks or even months, and from my perspective it was the humane thing to do.’
Sgt Button also told the court that Marten appeared to be wearing ‘furniture stuffing’ for insulation and smelled ‘unclean and unwashed’.
Both she and Gordon had a distinctive odour that he associated with homeless people, he said.
The couple hit the headlines last January when Greater Manchester Police launched a missing persons inquiry after finding a placenta in the couple’s burnt-out car on a motorway near Bolton.
Last February 20, the defendants had been caught on camera trying to break into Hollingbury Golf Course near Brighton, East Sussex, and ‘rummaging’ through a wheelie bin, the court heard.
On the evening of February 27, CCTV captured Marten appearing to attempt to steal food from a shop.
She then withdrew cash from an ATM machine and Gordon bought food in a convenience store.
Resident Dale Cooley spotted Gordon carrying a stick with one foot wrapped in a plastic bag, which he thought was ‘strange’.
Mr Cooley recognised the couple and checked a story on the local Argus newspaper website to confirm his suspicions.
He described phoning his wife, saying: ‘I told her it was definitely the couple from the news because the descriptions matched and their behaviour seemed strange as if they were trying to stay hidden.’
He tried to engage them in conversation asking if they were on Stanmer Drive, and Gordon replied ‘we don’t know’ in a gruff northern accent, the court was told.
In a statement read to court, Mr Cooley said: ‘Their body language suggested they did not want to be bothered. I spotted a paramedic car and waved them down. I asked them what I should do and they said call 999.’
Mr Cooley, who had gone out in his car to dispose of coffee pots and visit an ATM, alerted police at 9.26pm.
The defendants, of no fixed address, deny the manslaughter of baby Victoria by gross negligence between January 4 and February 27 last year.
They are also charged with 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.
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