'I should have followed your cries': Heartbreaking note left for baby found dead in hunt for aristocrat's missing child

2 March 2023, 17:59 | Updated: 3 March 2023, 09:58

A heart-rending note claims "babies&squot; cries" were heard near the woods where an infant&squot;s body was found in the search for Constance Marten&squot;s missing child.
A heart-rending note claims "babies' cries" were heard near the woods where an infant's body was found in the search for Constance Marten's missing child. Picture: Alamy / social media / Met Police

By Chris Samuel

A heart-rending note claims "baby's cries" were heard near the woods where an infant's body was found in the search for Constance Marten's missing child.

Marten, 35, and her partner Mark Gordon, 48, went missing with their newborn baby in January, prompting a nationwide search by police, amid concerns about Marten and their child's welfare.

After the couple were found weeks later without the baby, another search operation was launched to find the infant as police questioned the pair.

During the search, the remains of a baby were found on Wednesday night, with police revealing the following day that the infant may have been dead "for some time".

After the discovery, tributes were left for the baby in East Sussex, near where the body was found, including a card attached to a white teddy bear which read: “RIP little darling.

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“I am so traumatised. I should have followed your cries.

“I will never forget.”

It has not yet been established whether the body discovered is that of Marten’s child.

A post mortem is due to take place on Friday.

Police found the infant's remains on Wednesday near where Marten and Gordon were arrested.

The pair were charged with gross negligence manslaughter on Thursday, following the discovery of the unidentified baby's body in an area of woodland in Brighton.

Vigil held in Brighton after remains found in search for Constance Marten’s baby

The note left on Golf Drive in Brighton, East Sussex, near to where the baby's body was found.
The note left on Golf Drive in Brighton, East Sussex, near to where the baby's body was found. Picture: Alamy

Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, who has been leading the investigation, said on Thursday: "My team has been working on this investigation for the past eight weeks and we have travelled across the country as part of our searches for this baby.

"We are all truly devastated by the outcome and we know this emotion is also being felt here in Brighton and across the country today.

"While there are still many unanswered questions it is important that we give the investigation team the time and space they need to establish more details about the circumstances of this tragic death.

Police officers at the entrance to allotments near Hollingbury Golf Course in Brighton where found the remains of a baby
Police officers at the entrance to allotments near Hollingbury Golf Course in Brighton where found the remains of a baby . Picture: Alamy

"At this stage we have not yet been able to confirm the baby's gender and a post-mortem examination has not yet taken place.

"Despite this, based on the enquiries we've carried out so far, we believe, sadly, the baby had been dead for several weeks before they were found. It's too early for us to provide a more specific date.

He added that the force has referred itself to the Independent Office of Police Conduct, adding that this was "standard protocol for such circumstances".

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

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon remain in custody. The pair were spotted by a member of the public after nearly two months on the run.

The couple had vanished from the Bolton area after their car was found alight on the motorway. They had an infant who, it was believed, had not been seen by medical professionals.

Police found most of the belongings destroyed, but Ms Marten's passport was still relatively intact. Blood and placenta were also found on the back seat, indicating Ms Marten had given birth.

They used taxis to travel across the UK, eventually emerging in London before they were finally tracked down to Brighton.

A police search team works through an area near a golf course during the search for the missing baby.
A police search team works through an area near a golf course during the search for the missing baby. Picture: Getty

In January, it emerged that Marten is from an aristocratic family with links to the royals, although she has not been in touch with her family for some time.

Her grandmother is Mary Anna Marten, whose godmother was the Queen Mother, meaning Constance Marten is the great-granddaughter of Captain Napier Sturt, Baron Alington.

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Her father was a page to Queen Elizabeth but renounced the family's £115 million fortune, saying a voice in his head told him "to shave my head and go to Australia".

It was later reported that Ms Marten featured in society magazine Tatler when she was 21 as "Babe of the Month" and said her special skill was "crunching a Coke can between my shoulder blades".

She added that the best party she had been to was a Bacchus-themed bash thrown by one Viscount Cranbourne.

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