On-the-run aristocrat planned to pay someone to smuggle her baby abroad, court told

On-The-Run Aristocrat Planned To Pay Someone To Smuggle Her Baby Abroad, Court Told
Constance Marten (36) and her partner Mark Gordon (49) are on trial after baby Victoria died last year. Photo: PA Images
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Ellie Ng, PA

On-the-run mother Constance Marten has told jurors in the UK that she and her partner planned to pay someone to smuggle their baby daughter abroad.

The aristocrat (36) and her partner Mark Gordon (49) are on trial after baby Victoria died while they were camping on the South Downs in wintry conditions last year.


Giving evidence on Monday, she insisted that there were “plenty of people” she could have found who would have been willing to help get her daughter abroad, naming advertising and community website Gumtree as one of the places to look.

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon court sketch
Constance Marten and Mark Gordon at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Jurors have heard how the couple went on the run from authorities in a bid to keep their baby after their four other children were taken into care, who Marten claimed on Monday were “stolen from me by the state”.


Talking about baby Victoria, Marten said: “She deserves to be with me. I’m a good mother, I’m an excellent mother actually.”

She told the jury, that after finding out she was pregnant with her fifth child, the plan was to go abroad.

“Get away from this country and the services and my family, but unfortunately, there were preventatives from going abroad,” she said.

She believed there was a travel ban in place against her after a “private” High Court case in 2019, the court heard.


Asked how they were going to get abroad, Marten said: “We were going to find some people to smuggle us abroad illegally.”

Asked where she was going to go, she initially told the court she “would rather keep that private” but then said “anywhere in Europe away from here”.

Marten told jurors that “plan B” was to stay in the UK and “lay low”.



Asked to elaborate on the plan to remain in the UK, Marten said: “I probably would not have stayed over here.

“I wanted to keep her at least until she was three months old and then give her to a carer who could then try and get her abroad.”


She told the court she would have paid the person to get Victoria out of the UK.

“It would have been a carer, a nanny or something,” she added.

“If there is a will there is a way, you can always find someone to help.”

She insisted she would have “spent time with them” before entrusting them with her child.

Marten said the plan was to find someone prepared to register Victoria under their own name.

She told the court earlier that she would not have been able to register her daughter’s birth without alerting the authorities and that she planned to use private medical care on Harley Street if her daughter ever needed medical attention instead of registering her with the NHS.

Challenged on how getting someone else to register the baby’s birth may have been difficult, Marten said: “I am sure these things are doable. I will do anything to save my children.”

Mark Gordon court case
A shed in Lower Roedale Allotments, East Sussex, where a Lidl bag was found to contain the body of Victoria (Met Police/PA)

Marten also told the court she believed people were following them and tampering with their cars, saying that she found “GPS trackers” under the vehicles and “every single one of our cars has just stopped in the middle of the motorway”.

The couple abandoned their car after it burst into flames near Bolton, Greater Manchester, on January 5th last year and were finally arrested in Brighton a few weeks later, on February 27th.

The couple had refused to answer officers’ urgent questions about where their baby was and whether she was alive or dead.

Her remains were found by police in a Lidl bag inside a shed on a nearby allotment on March 1st, 2023.

Last week, Marten described how Victoria was born at a rental cottage on Christmas Eve 2022 and died last January 9th.

On how Victoria died, she said: “I had her in my jacket and when I woke up my head was on the floor. And when I was sitting up and when I woke up she was not alive.”

She told jurors her children meant the world to her, and she had done nothing to Victoria “but show her love”.

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.

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