Constance Marten and partner ‘told each other to lie to police for protection’

Wealthy aristocrat Constance Marten has told jurors she advised her partner to lie to police about being present when their baby daughter died because she thought they would “automatically blame him, being a black guy”.

Marten, 36, is on trial over the death of her newborn daughter Victoria while on the run from authorities with her partner Mark Gordon, 49.

On Monday, she said she and Gordon advised each other to lie to the police about the circumstances around their baby’s death to protect each other.

The court has heard how the defendants fled with the baby after their car burst into flames near Bolton, Greater Manchester, last January 5.

Marten claims her daughter died last January 9, shortly after the couple went to live off grid.

She said Gordon told her not to tell police that Victoria died while Marten was holding her in her sleep because police would “blame” her.

Marten said she told Gordon to tell police he was not there at the time.

Asked if she advised Gordon to lie to the police, she said: “Yes, I’m very protective over my husband because I feel that he gets blamed for everything.”

She added: “I thought they were going to automatically blame him, being a black guy, and I am the good one usually.”

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon at the Old Bailey
Court artist sketch of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon at the Old Bailey earlier in the trial (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Marten told jurors she was scared police were going to “pile up charges”.

“That was my fear that no matter how innocent I am they are just going to want to prosecute me,” she explained.

The court also heard how the defendant “keeled over” with exhaustion and fell asleep before the baby died.

“My body couldn’t take it anymore,” she said.

“I literally shut down in that tent and keeled over.”

Marten insisted Victoria was warm, fed and protected and said she neglected taking care of herself because she was focused on her child.

Jurors also heard Marten and Gordon discussed handing Victoria in to the authorities when she was alive.

“We said that if we can’t find a house within the next day or two then we are probably going to have to hand Victoria in,” Marten said.

She added that they “never intended” to live in a tent with her for months on end.

She told the court that she and Gordon lost their drive after their baby’s death.

“After Victoria died we sort of lost all or our motive and drive because everything we were doing was for her,” Marten said.

“When she passed away I think we both just sort of quit. We didn’t really have any drive after that.”

When they were arrested in Brighton last February 27, they had refused to answer officers’ urgent questions about where their baby was and whether she was alive or dead.

Victoria’s remains were found by police in a Lidl bag inside a shed on a nearby allotment on March 1 2023.

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.

Marten has finished giving evidence and the trial continues at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

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