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01st Mar 2023

Missing baby feared dead as police arrest parents on suspicion of manslaughter

Charlie Herbert

Police are searching a 91-square mile area for the infant

A couple have been arrested on manslaughter charges as police continue to search for their missing baby.

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon were arrested on Monday in Stanmer Villas on suspicion of child neglect, after a member of the public reported seeing them shortly before 9.30pm that day.

They had been missing with their baby for 53 days.

Their baby has yet to be found, and police confirmed on Tuesday that Marten and Gordon have been further arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.

Police are continuing to search a 91-square mile area in Brighton for the child, but Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, from the Metropolitan Police, said the risk to the infant was increasing as time goes on.

Police said they still hope to find the baby safe and well, but DS Basford added that they must “be open to the fact this may not end in the way we would like” and that the infant may have “come to harm.”

Marten, 35, and Gordon, 48, had been travelling around the UK by taxi since their car was found burning on the M61 in Bolton, Greater Manchester, on 5 January. The couple walked along the hard shoulder of the motorway, with Marten carrying their baby in her arms.

Authorities previously believed the couple had been sleeping rough, and had been dodging police by moving around frequently and keeping their faces covered from CCTV. The couple travelled from Bolton to Liverpool, then to Harwich in Essex, then to east London and then to Newhaven in Sussex, where they were seen near the ferry port on 8 January.

Police told the BBC that Tuesday’s search was covering a large area between Brighton and Newhaven, where the pair were spotted a few days ago. A helicopter, drones and police dogs are all involved in the search and residents are being urged to check sheds and other outhouses, and to report anything unusual.