Shocking moment runaway aristocrat Constance Marten's baby was discovered amid rubbish in Lidl bag

14 February 2024, 18:31 | Updated: 14 February 2024, 18:32

Footage showed the moment the baby's body was found
Footage showed the moment the baby's body was found. Picture: Met police

By Emma Soteriou

Shocking footage has been released showing the moment runaway aristocrat Constance Marten's baby was discovered amid rubbish in a Lidl bag.

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Marten, 36, and her partner Mark Gordon, 49, had refused to tell police where their baby daughter, Victoria, had been hidden after they were tracked down.

Days later, police discovered the child's remains in a disused shed on an allotment near to where they had been detained.

Police bodyworn footage of the moment the baby was found on March 1 was shown in the Old Bailey on Wednesday.

Officers could be seen searching the large red shopping bag which had been placed on decking outside the shed on Lower Roedale Allotments in Brighton.

They were seen pulling out pieces of rubbish to reveal the baby, whose body was blocked out on the video.

Read more: Moment runaway aristocrat Constance Marten fills up bottle of petrol at station before death of her newborn baby

Read more: Images of runaway aristocrat Constance Marten's baby Victoria shown to jury for first time

Moment police uncover baby remains amid rubbish in Lidl bag is shown in court

Pc Allen Ralph, who was involved in the search, told jurors he had already seen earlier CCTV footage of the Lidl bag before being sent to the allotments.

As he approached the shed, he said he noticed a broken window and lifted the door to get in.

The first thing to hit was the smell, he said: "I remember saying 'either something is dead in there or something has died'."

Inside there was a tent, out-of-date milk and bread on a makeshift table and the shopping bag underneath, he said.

Pc Ralph told his partner during a break that he recognised the bag so they went back to take a closer look.

He told jurors: "I lifted it and it was heavy and there was no reason for it to be heavy from what I could see inside.

"I remember quite clearly there was just a lot of rubbish."

Pc Ralph said there were two baby nappies, a pink baby blanket, drinks cans, cardboard, leaves and other pieces of rubbish.

He told jurors he put on gloves before placing the bag on decking outside the shed to examine the contents, with his colleague indicating that he had seen what looked like the head of a doll.

Pc Ralph said: "The head was to the left. It was concave, the top of the head. That was what we touched. I unwrapped it two or three times before I got to a part where I could see red pooling.

"A couple of seconds after, we went to the right-hand side. I put my hand down. My hand slipped on something. I looked and that was the baby's leg. My hand was soaking wet."

Pc Ralph said the baby was "very pale" and "very cold" to the touch.

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon
Constance Marten and Mark Gordon. Picture: Metropolitan Police

The full contents of the bag was read out in court, including the pink blanket that the baby was wrapped in, a pink baby vest and babygrow.

Other items in the bag were: a black blanket, a can of Budweiser, two Coke cans, two Hollingbury Golf Club scorecards, a glass water bottle refilled with petrol purchased at a Texaco garage on January 12 2023, oil and leaves, two torn Argos carrier bags, one WH Smith bag, several pages of The Sun newspaper dated January 12 2023, and an egg mayonnaise and cress sandwich package.

It was alleged that some of the items were bought by Marten at a Texaco garage in Newhaven last January 12.

On being told a baby had been found dead, Marten confirmed the child was hers before starting to cry.

In a police interview played in court, Marten said she gave birth in Cumbria on Christmas Eve and the baby had died in the Harwich area around January 8.

"I had her in my jacket and I hadn't slept properly in quite a few days and erm, I fell asleep holding her sitting up and she, when I woke up, she wasn't alive," she said.

Marten went on to say that she wanted to keep Victoria with her after her other four children were taken away.

When the baby died, she considered giving her a "proper burial" but did not want the child to be eaten by animals.

"I don't know if you found, there's a bottle of petroleum in the bag because I debated whether to cremate her myself, get rid of the evidence, but I decided to keep her because I knew at some point in the future I would going to be asked about it but I just didn't know what to do. So that's why we're here really," she told police.

Constance Marten asked ‘where is your child?’ in dramatic arrest video

Marten and her partner went on the run with their newborn daughter on January 5 last year after their car burst into flames on a motorway near Bolton.

Police launched a nationwide search for the missing baby as the defendants travelled across England, living off-grid in a tent on the South Downs for around seven weeks, jurors previously heard.

On February 20, 2023, they were caught on CCTV footage carrying a Lidl bag and rummaging through bins outside Hollingbury Golf Club in Brighton.

They were arrested on suspicion of child neglect after a member of the public spotted them and called 999 on February 27.

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 was adjourned until Monday.