Mark Gordon and Constance Marten have gone on trial at the Old Bailey where they deny manslaughter by gross negligence of their baby daughter.
The jury was told on Thursday how the couple travelled across England in cars and taxis, with the newborn baby tucked underneath Marten’s coat and later kept in a Lidl bag-for-life.
Here is a timeline of events leading up to the defendants’ arrest, as laid out by the prosecution:
– December 20 2022
Gordon and Marten booked into a holiday cottage in Northumberland, after making an online booking until December 26. The property owners found the cottage left in a “disgusting state” on December 28, jurors heard.
– December 28
The defendants’ Suzuki car broke down on the M18 motorway between junctions 5 and 6, and a recovery driver took them to a Sainsbury’s supermarket nearby. Gordon initially asked to be taken to Thorne in South Yorkshire. No baby is seen or heard by the recovery driver.
– January 4 2023
The couple moved across the Pennines and checked into the Ibis hotel at the Lymm Services in Cheshire in the early hours of the morning. Later the same day, they also checked into the AC Hotel in Manchester.
– January 5
A Peugeot 206 car being used by the defendants caught fire on the M61 motorway in Greater Manchester, causing them to flee. Marten’s passport, “burner” phones and a placenta wrapped in a towel were discarded in the wreckage, jurors were told.
A high-risk missing persons inquiry was then launched and the couple became front-page news, the court was told. The defendants were picked up by a member of the public and taken to a Morrisons store in Bolton, where they arrived just before 8pm.
From the nearby Bolton Interchange station, the defendants took a taxi to Liverpool before they instructed another taxi to drive them around 270 miles to Harwich in Essex.
– January 6
The couple arrived in Harwich in the early hours of the morning and checked into a Premier Inn hotel at about 3am. In the evening, they moved to another hotel in town, the Fryatt Hotel, where they paid in cash.
– January 7
The defendants checked out of the Fryatt Hotel just before 7am and took a taxi to Colchester. Another taxi was taken later that morning from Colchester to High Street North in East Ham, east London.
Gordon and Marten visited an Argos store where they bought a buggy, before they took a taxi from East Ham to Whitehchapel. They ate that evening in a restaurant in Brick Lane.
The defendants dumped the buggy they had bought earlier that day, the court heard. It is alleged the baby was transferred to a Lidl bag-for-life where she spent much of the rest of her life.
– January 8
The defendants travelled by taxi to north London and arrived just after midnight, before they spent £475 on a taxi from Hornsey to Newhaven in East Sussex. They arrived in Newhaven just before 5am and walked to the South Downs National Park.
Marten entered a Texaco petrol station and bought snacks and petrol with cash. There was no sign of the baby.
– January 16
A dog walker saw the defendants’ tent set up in Stanmer Park Nature Reserve in the South Downs. Gordon was seen getting out of a tent and carrying a bag-for-life. The tent was not in the same position a week later.
In the same month, they were also seen on a rural path near the Seven Sisters cliffs.
– February 16/17
Another dog walker saw the defendants near Hollingbury Golf Course in rural Sussex. They were pushing a buggy but the witness did not see a baby.
– February 17
A witness noticed the defendants’ tent set up in Coldean Lane in Brighton.
– February 18
A driver noticed the defendants together in the area of Coldean Lane walking towards Stanmer Park. Marten appeared to have something under her puffer jacket.
– February 19
Gordon and Marten were seen in Stanmer Park with their blue tent. Marten was carrying a very young baby with a wobbly head, but the baby had no socks on, no blanket and no hat on.
– February 20
The defendants were captured on CCTV trying and failing to break in to Hollingbury Golf Course and were “scavenging for food from the bins”, jurors heard.
– February 27
Marten and Gordon smelled “very unpleasant” as they were arrested in Hollingbury Place in Brighton, jurors heard. They were carrying furniture stuffing and paper in their clothing for extra warmth.