Police say the baby which was found dead in Sussex on Wednesday (March 1) may have been ‘dead for some time’ before the remains were discovered by officers.They gave a brief update on Thursday afternoon following the tragic discovery.
It comes as officers continue to question Constance Marten and Mark Gordon, after they were granted a 36-hour detention extension. The couple who were arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter on Tuesday, remain in custody.
In the update today, Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford said: "My team has been working on this investigation for the past eight weeks and we have travelled across the country as part of our searches for this baby. We are all truly devastated by the outcome and we know this emotion is also being felt here in Brighton and across the country today.
"While there are still many unanswered questions it is important that we give the investigation team the time and space they need to establish more details about the circumstances of this tragic death. At this stage we have not yet been able to confirm the baby’s gender and a post-mortem examination has not yet taken place.
"Despite this, based on the enquiries we’ve carried out so far, we believe, sadly, the baby had been dead for several weeks before they were found. It’s too early for us to provide a more specific date.Because we believe the death occurred during the course of a missing person investigation, we have made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. This is standard protocol for such circumstances.”
The warrant of further detention that was granted yesterday is in place until late this evening (Thursday, 2 March.) Officers from the Met will remain in the area over the coming days although the operation has been scaled back, police say.
Constance Marten and Mark Gordon were found in Brighton in the early hours of Tuesday morning. They had disappeared in January with police making several appeals for information about their whereabouts including that of their baby, who was thought to be days old when the couple went missing.
The pair were both initially arrested on suspicion of child neglect. On Tuesday afternoon, police said both had been further arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.
Officers spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday scouring an allotment, golf course and nearby woodland and wild park. The search also included helicopters, drones and police dogs in a bid to find the missing infant.
More than 200 officers were tasked with searching for the missing infant over the past two days, with police saying the risk to the baby was “extremely high”.
Constance Marten, 35, and her ex-convict boyfriend Mark Gordon, 48, were last seen in the early hours of the morning on January 8 in Newhaven, East Sussex. The couple sparked a police hunt after being spotted leaving a burning car on foot on the M61 near Bolton earlier in the month with their newborn baby. They are then believed to have travelled to Liverpool, Essex and London.
Last month (January) detectives offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to Ms Marten’s and Mr Gordon’s whereabouts. She comes from a wealthy family with connections to the royals, and has lived an isolated life since meeting her lover Gordon in 2016. He was previously imprisoned in the USA for rape.
Anyone who has information that could support the investigation should call the incident room on 0208 345 3854.