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First glimpse of baby Victoria caught in CCTV footage

Jurors have seen first brief glimpses of a newborn baby who died after her parents went on the run.

Constance Marten, 36, and her partner Mark Gordon, 49, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of the manslaughter of baby Victoria.

It is alleged the couple travelled across England and lived off-grid in a bid to keep their daughter after four other children were taken into care.

Constance Marten missing
Constance Marten and Mark Gordon (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

They became front-page news last January when Greater Manchester Police launched a missing persons inquiry after finding a placenta in the couple’s burnt-out car on a motorway near Bolton.

The defendants spent hundreds of pounds on taxis taking them from the North West to Essex and on to east London, the Old Bailey has heard.

Last February, Marten and Gordon were arrested in East Sussex and the body of baby Victoria was found in a Lidl supermarket bag covered in rubbish inside a disused shed.

Previously, CCTV of the couple appeared to show a bulge where the baby had been bundled up beneath Marten’s coat and wrapped in a blanket or towel.

On Tuesday, jurors were shown video footage clearly showing the dark-haired child dressed in a babygrow, with her hands and arms moving around.

Cab driver Colette Franklin, who took the defendants from Harwich to Colchester for £30, described how Gordon “slid down his seat” when a police car came towards them.

On arriving at East Ham, Gordon passed the baby out of another cab to Marten, who was standing near the door.

Baby Victoria’s fingers were seen in the footage curling and moving around.

Mark Gordon court case
CCTV footage of Constance Marten holding baby Victoria under her coat outside Special Connection in East Ham, London, last January 7 (Met Police/PA)

Further CCTV of Marten standing in the street showed her unzipping her jacket to reveal the baby.

She appeared to cradle the child in her arms to comfort her.

Jurors then viewed a clip of Gordon buying a buggy in Argos while Marten sat at a table in a German doner kebab shop.

When Gordon returned, Marten put the baby down, wrapped in a red scarf.

Prosecutor Joel Smith told jurors: “You can see while Ms Marten is assembling the buggy the baby’s arms moving to her left.”

Gordon sat in the dock and covered his face with his hand as the footage was shown in court.

His defence barrister, John Femi-Ola KC, spoke briefly to him and asked for a short break as his client was finding it “quite stressful”.

Marten, who was later captured on camera buying a dummy in Boots, has not attended court for her trial.

Mark Gordon court case
CCTV footage of Constance Marten, Mark Gordon and baby Victoria in a German doner kebab shop in East Ham , London (Met Police/PA)

Jurors were told the couple went on to Whitechapel, where Gordon bought a tent at Argos before heading to Newhaven in East Sussex.

CCTV footage showed Gordon in the shop wearing plastic bags on his shoes.

Jurors were shown a receipt for the purchase of items including a children’s “pro-active unicorn” sleeping bag and tent totalling £91.51 which was paid in cash.

Last January 12, Marten was captured on film at a Texaco garage in East Sussex, jurors were told.

After that the “trail went cold” until last February 20 when they were spotted near a golf course clubhouse, Mr Smith said.

He told jurors that by then Gordon was using a branch as a makeshift walking stick and the defendants were “rummaging through bins”.

They were finally tracked down on the outskirts of Brighton, where they were arrested last February 27.

Mark Gordon court case
CCTV footage of Constance Marten with baby Victoria with Mark Gordon (obscured in car) arriving in East Ham High Street, London (Met Police/PA)

Dog walker Paul Rogers told the court he saw the defendants near Hollingbury golf course in Brighton.

He said: “As I got closer to them I noticed they looked a bit dishevelled, a bit dirty, possibly homeless people.

“The man was carrying plastic bags, a bag in each hand. The woman was pushing a buggy. They didn’t have anything else with them.

“I do not recall whether there was anything in the buggy.”

Mr Smith asked: “At any point, did you see or hear a baby?”

Mr Rogers said: “I didn’t, no.”

Motorist Tim Morris was in Coldean Lane, Brighton, on the morning of last February 18 when he saw a couple he thought were the defendants, the court was told.

He told jurors: “The thing I noticed about the lady was she had a big coat on with something underneath. The coat was done up.

“I straight away thought there was a child under the coat and it was being kept warm.

“It seemed quite odd she was quite far behind (the man) and almost dragging her heels. It didn’t seem right.

“I said to my partner ‘They look like that couple in the news’ and she said ‘Yes, there’s definitely something beneath the coat and it could be a little ’un’.”

The defendants, of no fixed address, deny manslaughter by gross negligence of the little girl between January 4 and February 27 last year.

They are also charged with perverting the course of justice, concealing the birth of a child, child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child.