Have runaway aristocrat Constance Marten and her rapist boyfriend Mark Gordon fled the UK?
Fears are growing an aristocrat missing with her rapist boyfriend and their newborn baby have fled the country to the continent.
Constance Marten, 35, and Mark Gordon, 48, went missing with their baby on January 5, and have since been seen at a number of ferry ports.
Today the Met Police admitted for the first time the couple ‘could be anywhere’ although the force insisted it still ‘strongly believes they remain in the UK’.
The pair have been caught on CCTV at Harwich Port in Essex on January 7, then at Newhaven ferry port – which travels to Dieppe – a day later on January 8. Since then there have been no positive sightings of them.
Newhaven ferry port CCTV picked up the couple on January 8, circled in red in this still
The pair have been caught on CCTV at Harwich Port in Essex on January 7, Ms Marten pictured
Ms Marten and her boyfriend have a blue Argos tent with them and the French fishing port has some 13 campsites nearby.
And detectives – who today offered a £10,000 reward for their whereabouts – have already said the couple have a large quantity of cash with them, which would allow them to remain under the radar.
It has also been suggested previously Ms Marten and her partner may have wanted to hide out in the Netherlands.
The Met Police – which is leading the investigation – is continuing to urge the public to report any sightings of the family to the police.
Mark Gordon, 48, and Constance Marten, 35, have been at the centre of a nationwide police hunt for four weeks
CCTV of couple released days ago show them after buying camping gear from a London Argos
Police say they were last seen dropped off in a taxi at 4.56am on January 8 just outside the entrance to Newhaven port.
Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘We continue to be extremely concerned about the health and wellbeing of the newborn baby, which has had no medical care and has been on the move, and possibly exposed to sub-zero temperatures, for almost a month now.
‘We’re also concerned for the welfare of Constance and Mark, because our enquiries suggest that they were constantly moving and awake for at least a few days – which must be especially draining on someone who had recently given birth with no medical attention.
‘Finding the baby is our top priority and we are now offering a £10,000 reward to anyone who provides information which leads to them being found. Maybe you have been reluctant to come forward before, for whatever reason, with key information to help us find the family. It does not matter why you did not speak to us earlier, what matters is doing the right thing now for the good of a vulnerable newborn baby.
Police say Gordon is often seen striding ahead while Constance is walking behind him
‘Maybe you saw them wandering the streets? Perhaps they asked you for directions? Maybe they got into your taxi, or they came into your establishment to buy food and drink? Please contact us with any information you have, because every single bit of information we get will assist us with finding them. I’d like to stress that if you have taken cash to provide a service to the family, whether that’s giving them a lift, accommodation or something else, that you are not in any sort of trouble, we just need to hear from you.’
Detectives working to trace the family have now tracked them to Newhaven, in East Sussex.
Police say they were dropped off in a taxi at 4.56am on January 8 just outside the entrance to the port.
They were seen carrying the bags containing the blue two-man tent, sleeping bags and pillows that they had purchased from Argos the evening before – meaning they could still be camping somewhere in the UK.
However, they were no longer in possession of the pushchair that they were previously seen with after they dumped it in Flower and Dean Walk, E1, at 11.46pm on January 7.
Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford added: ‘We have no evidence to suggest that they boarded a ferry in Newhaven, and we still strongly believe that they remain here in the UK – although they could be anywhere. Our enquiries also establish that the baby was alive and with them when they got the taxi to Newhaven.
Constance Marten is missing with her rapist boyfriend and their newborn baby in the UK
Napier Marten (pictured), is Constance’s father and was a pageboy to Queen Elizabeth II before giving up his £115million fortune after an ‘epiphany’ that told him to flee his ‘materialistic’ life
‘We know they were still in possession of camping equipment on January 8 and so I’d encourage people to remain vigilant and keep a look out for a blue tent. Please keep your eyes peeled, especially while you are out and about in waste ground or beauty spots, or while you’re walking the dog, and report any information to us.’
Gordon’s mother claimed her son is a ‘good boy’ and that he has secretly married the British aristocrat, saying she ‘does not know what all this is about’.
He was born in Birmingham but he, his mother and his half-siblings moved to the US when he was still a child in 1989.
In April of that year, aged just 14, Gordon armed himself with garden shears and a kitchen knife, then attacked his neighbour in a four-and-a-half-hour ordeal which saw him take her hostage and sexually assault her.
Two young children were sleeping in the room next door at the time of the attack, documents show.
US court records describe how Gordon is said to have broken in through the woman’s bathroom window, before finding a pair of her stockings which he used as a makeshift mask to cover his face.
Constance Marten and Mark Gordon outside East Ham station at around 11.45am on Saturday January 7
The car the pair were driving broke down and caught fire, as seen in this picture from police released as part of the search
Timeline of the probe
The investigation started when officers were called to a car on fire on the hard-shoulder of the M61, near junction four (Farnworth, Bolton) at 18:33hrs on Thursday, 5 January, officers. However, the occupants were not at the scene.
It is believed most of their belongings were destroyed in the car fire.
Enquiries revealed that Constance and Mark were the occupants of the car and that Constance had very recently given birth, possibly one or two days before, and had not been assessed by medical professionals.
A missing persons investigation was launched by Greater Manchester Police, who established that the family left the vehicle and the motorway safely – walking to the Anchor Lane bridge which links the Highfield and Little Hulton areas.
Officers believe they then travelled to Liverpool and then onwards to Harwich via a taxi at about 03:30hrs on Friday, 6 January.
Mark, Constance and a baby were seen by a member of the public in Harwich at about 09:00hrs on Saturday, 7 January. Officers also received a number of confirmed sightings of the family in Colchester on Friday, 6 January and Saturday, 7 January.
Subsequently, the investigation was handed over to Essex Police on Monday, 9 January.
Essex Police carried out a number of enquiries and reviewed hours of CCTV and were able to place the couple near East Ham Station between 10:30hrs and 12:30hrs on Saturday, 7 January. As this was the last confirmed sighting of the family at the time, the investigation was handed over to the Metropolitan Police Service on Thursday, 12 January.
Detectives then established that they took a taxi from East Ham, being dropped off in Whitechapel Road at 18:14hrs on Saturday, 7 January.
The couple are seen leaving the taxi with an orange carrier bag and a pram. They both have their heads and faces covered and Mark is wearing white plastic bags on his shoes, which he removes a short time later.
At 18:19hrs Mark went into Argos on Whitechapel Road, E1, and bought two big bags full of items, paying in cash, including a blue two-man tent, two sleeping bags and two pillows – which sparked fears they have been camping, including at times when the temperature plummeted to sub-zero.
They spent the next few hours walking along the Whitechapel Road area, where they tried to flag down three taxis but were refused. They then walked to the Brick Lane area.
At about 23:46hrs on Saturday, January 7 they then went to Flower and Dean Walk near Brick Lane where they dumped a number of items, including the pushchair. They then got a taxi to Haringey.
At 01:24hrs on Sunday, January 8 they then got in another taxi in Allison Road, Haringey, and travelled to Newhaven, where they were dropped off just outside the port at 04:56hrs.
This is the last official sighting of the family
Once he had encountered his victim, the documents state: ‘The suspect ordered the victim back into the bedroom and while still armed, demanded that the victim undress.’
He then sexually assaulted and raped the victim.
There were a total of six charges against Gordon relating to the April 29 attack: one count of armed kidnapping, four separate counts of armed sexual battery and one count of burglary with a deadly weapon. He was convicted on all charges.
The file described Gordon’s actions once he had entered the house: ‘The suspect placed a nylon stocking over his face to conceal his identity since he lived next door and was known by her.
‘The suspect was armed with a kitchen knife as well as a pair of hedge clippers and after the victim came out of her bedroom to investigate the dogs barking, came across the suspect lurking just outside her bedroom door.
‘The victim was held for a period of approximately four-and-a-half hours against her will by the armed intruder.
‘After miranda [being given the right to remain silent], the suspect admitted to the crime and gave a sworn, taped statement outlining the sequence of events as they occurred.
‘It should be noted that during the commission of the crime, the victim’s two small children were sleeping in their bedroom.’
Gordon was tried as an adult and sentenced to 20 years in jail after finally being arrested following six weeks spent on the run.
While a fugitive from the first attack, Gordon committed another violent armed raid just weeks later.
On May 21, he broke into a man’s house while he was sleeping, grabbed a kitchen knife and then battered the householder around the head with a heavy shovel when he awoke.
Court documents state that Gordon encountered the man, one of multiple occupants of the house, lying in bed when he suddenly awakened, ‘at which time the defendant beat the victim about his head and body’ with the shovel.
He then fled empty-handed leaving the victim seriously injured.
Police finally caught up with Gordon a month later on June 13 when he confessed to both raids.
It comes after film producer Napier Marten issued a plea to his estranged daughter Constance to get herself and the child to safety.
Mr Marten, son of Mary Anna Marten, whose godmother was the late Queen mother, told the Independent: ‘Darling Constance, even though we remain estranged at the moment, I stand by, as I have always done and as the family has always done, to do whatever is necessary for your safe return to us.
‘I beseech you to find a way to turn yourself and your wee one in to the police as soon as possible, so you and he or she can be protected.
‘Only then can a process of healing and recovery begin, however long it may take, however difficult it may be.
‘We are deeply concerned for your and your baby’s welfare.
‘I would like you to understand that the family will do all that is needed for your wellbeing.
‘And I also wish you to understand you are much, much loved whatever the circumstances.’
Anyone who has information on the family’s whereabouts should call the incident room on 020 7175 0785.
Alternatively, information can be reported 100 per cent anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask for personal details and they do not trace your device.