Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon Found Guilty of Concealing Birth and Perverting Justice

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon have been found guilty of concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice, following a jury’s verdict during their first trial, which began in January. The guilty verdicts, returned on 30 May, can now be reported after legal restrictions were lifted. The couple will face a retrial in March 2025 and remain in custody until then.

Trial and Verdicts

The original jury was discharged last week after failing to reach verdicts on some charges. Marten and Gordon were tried for manslaughter by gross negligence, causing or allowing the death of a child, child cruelty, concealing the birth of a child, and perverting the course of justice. They pleaded not guilty to all charges but were found guilty of the latter two offenses.

Timeline of Events

The couple first garnered public attention in January 2023 when police launched a manhunt after evidence of a recent birth was discovered in a burnt-out car near Bolton. They were found in Brighton on 27 February, but their newborn daughter, Victoria, was not with them. Victoria’s body was discovered two days later in a shopping bag in an allotment in Brighton.

The Trial’s Challenges

The trial, which began on 25 January, faced numerous delays, including a fire at the Old Bailey and scheduling conflicts due to holidays. These interruptions caused the case to overrun and extend beyond the initial timeline.

Details Revealed During Trial

Evidence presented during the trial indicated that Victoria was born while Marten and Gordon were evading social services after losing custody of their four previous children. Following the birth, the couple’s car caught fire on the M62 near Bolton, prompting them to abandon it and travel by taxi to Harwich. They continued to move frequently to avoid detection, even purchasing a tent and camping in January.

The prosecution suggested that Victoria might have died from exposure, but a post-mortem examination could not determine the cause of death. Marten testified that she did not expose Victoria to dangerous conditions and claimed she found her daughter dead after falling asleep while holding her.

Jury Deliberations and Retrial

The jury faced disruptions due to holidays and ultimately could not reach a verdict on all charges. They found Marten and Gordon guilty of concealing the birth and perverting justice but were unable to decide on other charges by 19 June. The prosecution has announced plans for a retrial, which is expected to occur in March 2025.

Official Statements

Following the lifting of reporting restrictions, Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford of the Metropolitan Police stated that the investigation team, in collaboration with the Crown Prosecution Service, is preparing for the retrial. He emphasized that their primary focus remains securing justice for baby Victoria.

In summary, the court’s recent decisions mark a significant step in the ongoing legal proceedings against Constance Marten and Mark Gordon, with further developments anticipated in their retrial next year.

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