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On-the-run mum tells court she planned to pay someone to smuggle her baby abroad

Constance Marten planned to pay someone to smuggle her baby abroad, a court has heard.

Marten, 36, and her partner Mark Gordon, 49, are on trial after their newborn baby Victoria died while they lived off grid during winter last year.

The couple had gone on the run in January 2023 in a bid to keep their baby, after four previous children were taken into care, jurors at the Old Bailey heard.

Almost two months later, on 27 February, they were arrested in Brighton and just days later the badly decomposed remains of Victoria were found in a Lidl plastic bag inside a shed, on an allotment.

Giving evidence on Monday, during the ongoing trial, Marten said there were “plenty of people” who would have willingly helped her smuggle Victoria out of the country, claiming she could have found such services on Gumtree.

Marten also claimed that she was “a good mother, I’m an excellent mother actually”, the court heard.

CCTV footage of Constance Marten holding baby Victoria under her coat outside Special Connection in East Ham.
Pic: mPA
Image: Constance Marten holding baby Victoria under her coat in East Ham. Pic: PA

After finding out she was pregnant with her fifth child, her plan was to go abroad, jurors were told.

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

Marten believed that there was a travel ban in place against her after a “private” High Court case back in 2019.

She continued: “We were going to find some people to smuggle us abroad illegally.”

Marten added that “plan B” was to remain in the UK but “lay low”.

The shed where little Victoria's remains were found. Pic: Met Police
Image: The shed where Victoria’s remains were found. Pic: Met Police

When asked to elaborate, Marten told the court she wanted to keep Victoria until she was three months old, 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. She said: “It would have been a carer, a nanny or something. If there is a will there is a way, you can always find someone to help.”

Marten also insisted she would have got to know this carer before handing over her child and had hoped to find someone who would register Victoria under their own name.

Marten previously said she would not have been able to register her daughter’s birth herself without alerting authorities but planned to use private medical care if Victoria had ever needed it.

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon Pic: PA / Greater Manchester Police
Image: Constance Marten and Mark Gordon Pic: PA/Greater Manchester Police

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

‘When I woke up she was not alive’

During proceedings last week, Marten described how Victoria died in her arms on 9 January.

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.”

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.

The trial continues.

Sky News Source