Police offer £10,000 reward to find missing aristocrat and baby as new sighting confirmed
Police have offered a £10,000 reward for anyone with information to help find a missing aristocrat and her newborn baby.
Constance Marten, 35, has been missing with the baby - believed to be a few weeks old now - and her rapist partner Mark Gordon since 5 January.
Detectives have now traced the couple to Newhaven in East Sussex after they were dropped off in a taxi before 5am on Sunday 8 January just outside the entrance to the port. This is the last confirmed sighting of the family.
The reward, from the Metropolitan Police’s own fund, will be given to anyone who provides information to the force that directly leads them to the family.
They were seen carrying the bags containing the blue two-man tent, sleeping bags and pillows that they had purchased from Argos the evening before – meaning they could still be camping somewhere in the UK.
However, they were no longer in possession of the pushchair that they were previously seen with after they dumped it in Flower and Dean Walk, E1, at 11.46pm on Saturday, 7 January.
The Metropolitan Police said a team of officers have been “working around the clock” to trace Ms Marten, Gordon, 48, and their newborn baby and are continuing to urge the public to report any sightings of the family to the police – and are now offering a £10,000 reward for information that leads to them being found.
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, 8 January 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.”
Napier Marten, a film and music producer, urged his daughter Constance to take herself and the child to safety as soon as possible.
Mark Gordon, the partner of Ms Marten, was jailed in the late 1980s in Florida, US, after raping and assaulting a woman when he was 14. After serving a 20-year sentence he was deported back to the UK in 2010, it emerged on Wednesday.
Appealing to his daughter via The Independent, Mr Marten said: “I want you to understand that you are much much loved whatever the circumstances. We are deeply concerned for your and your baby’s welfare”.
Mr Marten, 63, told The Independent he had known about Gordon’s criminal conviction for some time and had lived with the family “in great concern”.
He said: “Darling Constance even though we remain estranged at the moment, I stand by, as I have always done and as the family has always done, to do whatever is necessary for your safe return to us.
“I beseech you to find a way to turn yourself and your wee one in to the police as soon as possible, so you and he or she can be protected. Only then can a process of healing and recovery begin, however long it may take, however difficult it may be.”
Gordon and Ms Marten went missing on 5 January, when their baby was thought to have been only one or two days old, abandoning their broken-down car on the M61 near Bolton. Most of their possessions were destroyed when the vehicle caught fire but they have a substantial amount of cash, allowing them to live off-grid, police said.
Officers believe they then travelled to Liverpool and then more than 200 miles away to Harwich by Taxi at 3.30am on Friday, 6 January.
Mark, Constance and a baby were seen by a member of the public in Harwich at about 9am on Saturday, 7 January. Officers also received a number of confirmed sightings of the family in Colchester on Friday, 6 January and Saturday, 7 January.
Essex Police carried out a number of enquiries and reviewed hours of CCTV and were able to place the couple near East Ham Station between 10:30am and 12:30pm on Saturday, 7 January.
As this was the last confirmed sighting of the family at the time, the investigation was handed over to the Metropolitan Police Service on Thursday, 12 January.
Detectives then established that they took a taxi from East Ham, being dropped off in Whitechapel Road at 6.14pm on Saturday, 7 January.
The couple were seen leaving the taxi with an orange carrier bag and a pram. They both have their heads and faces covered and Mark is wearing white plastic bags on his shoes, which he removes a short time later.
At 6.20pm Mark went into Argos on Whitechapel Road, E1, and bought two big bags full of items, paying in cash, including a blue two-man tent, two sleeping bags and two pillows – which sparked fears they have been camping, including at times when the temperature plummeted to sub-zero.
They spent the next few hours walking along the Whitechapel Road area, where they tried to flag down three taxis but were refused. They then walked to the Brick Lane area.
At about 11.46pm on Saturday, January 7 they then went to Flower and Dean Walk near Brick Lane where they dumped a number of items, including the pushchair. They then got a taxi to Haringey.
At 1:24am on Sunday, January 8 they then got in another taxi in Allison Road, Haringey, and travelled to Newhaven, where they were dropped off just outside the port at 4.56am.