Aristocrat and Florida convict who fled together charged in child’s death


LONDON – The story of a fugitive British nobleman and his accomplice, a convicted sex offender, began when a vehicle caught fire on the side of the road in northern England. It’s about to end as a couple are charged with murder after a baby is found dead in the woods.

The mystery surrounding Constance Marton, 35, and Mark Gordon, 48, has gripped the UK in recent weeks amid a national manhunt for the couple, who appeared to be living off the grid – sleeping in a tent in freezing temperatures and were hiding from surveillance cameras. They fled across the country. There was widespread apprehension that her newborn baby, who had not received medical attention, could be in danger.

Interest is also fueled by Marten and Gordon’s background: Marten is the daughter of an aristocratic British family, and Gordon spent two decades in a Florida prison after he was convicted of sexual assault as a teenager.

The manhunt began in early January after the couple’s abandoned vehicle caught fire in Farnworth, a town about 200 miles north of London.

Officers had arrived to get the fire under control – but the occupants of the vehicle were nowhere to be found. Police said that in the back seat of the car, a placenta was discovered, prompting Greater Manchester Police to urgently search for a newborn baby.

It is not clear why the couple chose to elope. Marton and Gordon were not reported missing nor were they charged with a crime before their vehicle broke down, Camilla Moore, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police who is handling the investigation, said in an email . Moore said the pair, who police said had no permanent address, had been living in northern England in Airbnb rentals and properties reserved on before the car broke down.

The saga marked a sharp contrast from Marten’s privileged upbringing. Marten’s aristocratic family, according to The Independent, has loose ties to the royal family – Marten’s grandmother is a granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II’s mother – and Marten has previously been featured in Tatler, a British lifestyle magazine that focuses on high society. is concentrated.

Gordon was born in Britain but raised in the United States, British media reported. He spent time in Broward County, Fla., after pleading guilty to four charges of kidnapping, burglary and sexual battery, according to state inmate records. I spent almost two decades in jail. He was deported after his release Halfway through a 40-year sentence, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which lists Gordon as a registered sex offender.

The BBC reported that Marton became estranged from her family in 2016 after meeting Gordon at drama school. But in January, just as the search for Marten began, Her father urges her to turn herself in to the police.

“I want you to understand that you are deeply loved no matter what the circumstances,” Napier Marton said in an audio message published by the Independent. You and your children should be handed over to the police as soon as possible, so that you and them can be protected.

Officials equally stressed, in appeals to the couple, that they only wanted to ensure the safety of the newborn. Michaela Kerr, Chief Superintendent of Greater Manchester Police, addressed Marton: “As a mother… I know this is an exceptionally difficult time for you and you are feeling scared but I promise that our The number one priority is the same as yours – keeping your beautiful newborn baby safe.”

As the search continued into late winter, national attention focused on concerns about the child’s safety as the family was reportedly living an out-of-whack lifestyle, moving around the country while trying to avoid authorities.

Police said the couple were found on Monday evening in Brighton on Britain’s south coast, about 250 miles from where they fled in the vehicle. But there was no trace of the child – and the couple refused to reveal the child’s whereabouts, local media reported.

Police said the body of a child – who has not been formally identified – was found dead two days later in Brighton.

The coming days may bring answers to various questions related to the events of the last two months. The Metropolitan Police said Marton and Gordon appeared in court on Friday charged with aggravated manslaughter, concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice. It was unclear whether the couple had legal representation.

Moore said an autopsy would be performed Friday on the child’s body found this week.

Police said they were “overwhelmed by the messages of kindness and support shown to those involved in this challenging search and investigation,” and that they would do “everything possible” to “find out what happened.”

Meanwhile, members of the public left flowers and tributes near where the child’s body was found. “Sleep safe little one,” read a note.

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