Constance Marten has told ‘big fat lies’ over baby Victoria’s death, trial told

Fugitive aristocrat Constance Marten has been accused in court of “grand-standing on a premier league level” and telling “big fat lies” over the death of her daughter.

Baby Victoria “did not stand a chance” when Marten and her partner Mark Gordon went on the run and lived off-grid in a “flimsy” tent on the South Downs last winter, prosecutor Tom Little KC said.

On March 1 last year, the little girl was found dead inside a supermarket “bag for life” wearing only a soiled nappy and hidden beneath “waste and detritus”, the Old Bailey was told.

Mr Little said that Marten, 36, had lied to the jury about what happened while 49-year-old Gordon “did not dare” to give evidence, with his “silence deafening”.

Mark Gordon court case
Baby Victoria’s babygrow was found with her body in a Lidl bag in a shed in Lower Roedale Allotments, East Sussex (Met Police/PA)

He told jurors not to be distracted by comparisons between the conditions in the defendants’ tent and people surviving in other parts of the world.

Referring to Marten’s evidence, he said: “Jesus was born in a barn, yes, but Bethlehem is hardly a skiing destination.

“Tents in Calais are going to have fires next to them. All those attempts by Constance Marten to draw analogies all fail at the first hurdle.”

The reality was that Victoria was “neglected and exposed to dangerous conditions”, jurors were told.

Mr Little said: “A freezing cold baby girl with just a single babygrow and one vest. No hat.”

It was no coincidence the only clothes found by police with Victoria’s body were those she was seen wearing on CCTV, he said.

Turning to the defendants, the prosecutor said: “This was a self-absorbed relationship between two selfish and arrogant individuals and caught in the middle of that toxic relationship was a baby that was manifestly not being cared for properly, manifestly not being looked after properly.”

He said the “freezing cold” baby was heard crying on two nights in January when it was “bitterly cold” and at least a week after Marten claimed she had died.

Mr Little went on: “In her very short life baby Victoria did not stand a chance.

Mark Gordon court case
Constance Marten and Mark Gordon are on trial at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

“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?”

The couple’s four older children were “lawfully and properly” taken into care, he said: “Everyone can and should be able to see that – apart from Constance Marten.”

Mr Little told jurors: “In the real world they caused the death of baby Victoria. How they did it and when they did it are critical questions but be in no doubt about the question of causation.”

The prosecutor said that Marten had told “big fat lies”, adding: “They are demonstrable lies that go to the core issues in this case.”

One such alleged “big fat lie” was Marten’s claim 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.”

Marten’s “sham defence” was pursued because the level of protection Victoria had was an important issue in the case, he suggested.

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 said.

Jurors have heard how the couple went on the run from authorities last year in a bid to keep their baby after their other children were taken into care.

They abandoned their car after it burst into flames near Bolton, Greater Manchester, on January 5 2023 and were finally arrested in Brighton on February 27, days before Victoria’s body was found in a disused allotment shed.

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.

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