Man missing with aristocrat’s daughter and their newborn is convicted rapist

Registered sex offender Mark Gordon was jailed in Florida after he raped a woman when he was 14, and was deported back to the UK after serving his sentence

Thomas Kingsley
Wednesday 18 January 2023 17:42 GMT
Constance Marten: Hunt for missing aristocrat and baby after her partner found to be convicted rapist

The partner of a woman missing with a newborn baby is a convicted rapist who served 20 years in prison.

Mark Gordon and aristocrat’s daughter Constance Marten went missing with their newborn baby on 5 January, when they left their broken-down car on the M61 near Bolton. Police were alerted to the vehicle when it caught fire, destroying most of their possessions.

The Metropolitan Police has released a fresh appeal in the “high risk” search as officers fear the family could be anywhere in the UK.

Police have now issued a renewed appeal to find the couple and their baby
Police have now issued a renewed appeal to find the couple and their baby

Gordon is a registered sex offender who was jailed in the late 1980s in the US, after raping and assaulting a woman in her early twenties when he was 14 years old. He was put behind bars in Florida when he was 16 and served a 20-year sentence before being deported back to the UK in 2010.

The Independent previously revealed that Ms Marten is the granddaughter of Mary Anna Marten, a British Museum trustee whose godmother was the late Queen Mother, and who used to own the Crichel estate in Dorset.

Police are concerned for the welfare of the missing baby, who is believed to have been only one to two days old at the time the parents abandoned their car.

There has been no medical contact before or after Ms Marten’s pregnancy, and police believe the child may have been delivered in the vehicle.

The pair are understood to be in possession of a substantial amount of money, with their taxi journeys being paid in cash amounting to several hundreds of pounds.

Officers were called to a car on fire on the hard-shoulder of the M61 but the occupants were not at the scene
Officers were called to a car on fire on the hard-shoulder of the M61 but the occupants were not at the scene (Met Police)

Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford from the Metropolitan Police said: “Our top priority is ensuring the safety and welfare of the newborn baby.

“We are asking the public’s help for information and sightings of the couple with the baby so we can understand the welfare of the baby.”

Police released a CCTV image of a woman believed to be Ms Marten in Essex
Police released a CCTV image of a woman believed to be Ms Marten in Essex (Greater Manchester Police)

It is believed the couple met in 2016 and began dating after she dropped out of East London acting school and lost contact with friends.

Families of the pair have been made aware of their disappearance but both are understood to be estranged.

Ms Marten’s grandparents have both passed away. Her grandmother Mary Anna attended Brownies at Buckingham Palace alongside Princess Margaret in her youth, while her husband Toby Marten was a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy.

A notable archaeologist, Ms Marten was awarded an OBE in 1980 and appointed High Sheriff of Dorset nine years later.

Their family lived at the vast Crichel House – used as the backdrop for several period dramas, including Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow – the ownership of which in the wake of the Second World War became the centre of a notorious political scandal.

Constance Marten’s grandmother Mary Anna had connections to the royal family
Constance Marten’s grandmother Mary Anna had connections to the royal family (ANL/Shutterstock)

Police are asking for anyone who has spotted the couple to come forward as a matter of urgency.

They were initially travelling in a vehicle that was found broken down near junction four – Farnworth, Bolton – of the M61 on 5 January around 6.30pm. Police believe the car malfunctioned and caught fire and was not intentionally destroyed by the couple. Greater Manchester Police later found the vehicle with the couple’s belongings burnt.

Following the escape from the car, the pair walked to Anchor Lane bridge and hailed a taxi to Liverpool before taking another taxi to Harwich in Essex arriving just after midnight on Friday 6 January.

Police are concerned for the newborn’s welfare
Police are concerned for the newborn’s welfare (PA Wire)

Further sightings spotted the pair in Colchester with further inquiries revealing they took a taxi to East Ham station. This is the location of their last confirmed sighting on Saturday 7 January between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

Police said they could now be anywhere in the UK and are “demonstrating awareness of evasion from authorities”.

More than 100 officers are involved in the investigation and have more than 223 CCTV hours with assistance from the National Crime Agency.

The couple is connected to Wales, Leeds, Sheffield and Bolton and the last place they lived was in the north England area dating back to September where they stayed in Air BnBs for one to two nights.

Detective Superintendent Basford said: “This is a complex investigation with officers from across the Met continuing to work around the clock to find Constance, Mark and their baby.

“There is nothing to suggest that any of them have come to any sort of intentional harm – we just need to ensure they are okay, especially the baby, and do not require any medical assistance for any underlying issues.

“The last confirmed sighting of them was more than a week ago in East Ham – they could now be anywhere in the UK, which is why it is vital that members of the public continue to contact us with any suspected sightings.

“The assistance you’ve provided so far has been invaluable. Please don’t forget about Constance, Mark and the baby – if you see them or think you have seen them then please contact us as a matter of urgency.”

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