‘Beyond painful’: Estranged father of runaway aristocrat pleads with daughter to turn herself in

Exclusive: ‘I wish her to know she is loved whatever the circumstances,’ says Napier Marten

Jane Dalton
Thursday 19 January 2023 07:45 GMT
Constance Martens: Father of runaway aristocrat makes emotional plea to missing daughter

An aristocrat whose estranged daughter has vanished with her sex offender partner and their newborn baby has issued an emotional appeal telling her to turn herself in to the police.

Napier Marten, a film and music producer, urged his daughter Constance to take herself and the child to safety as soon as possible.

Mark Gordon, the partner of Ms Marten, was jailed in the late 1980s in Florida, US, after raping and assaulting a woman when he was 14. After serving a 20-year sentence he was deported back to the UK in 2010, it emerged on Wednesday.

Appealing to his daughter, Mr Marten said: “I want you to understand that you are much much loved whatever the circumstances. We are deeply concerned for your and your baby’s welfare”.

Gordon and Ms Marten went missing on 5 January, when their baby was thought to have been only one or two days old, abandoning their broken-down car on the M61 near Bolton. Most of their possessions were destroyed when the vehicle caught fire but they have a substantial amount of cash, allowing them to live off-grid, police said.

Mr Marten, 63, told The Independent he had known about Gordon’s criminal conviction for some time and had lived with the family “in great concern”.

He said: “Darling Constance even though we remain estranged at the moment, I stand by, as I have always done and as the family has always done, to do whatever is necessary for your safe return to us.

“I beseech you to find a way to turn yourself and your wee one in to the police as soon as possible, so you and he or she can be protected. Only then can a process of healing and recovery begin, however long it may take, however difficult it may be.

“I would like you to understand that the family will do all that is needed for your wellbeing. And I also wish you to understand you are much much loved whatever the circumstances.

“We are deeply concerned for your and your baby’s welfare.”

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon were last seen in East Ham, London

Mr Marten, a former Page to the late Queen, went on: “The past eight years have been beyond painful for all the family as well as your friends, as they must have been for you. And to see you so vulnerable again is testing in the extreme.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the police for all their endeavours in bringing this tragic episode to a swift and safe conclusion and appeal to you, please Constance, find the courage to present yourself to the police as soon as possible.”

Police have appealed for information to help find Constance Marten, Mark Gordon and the newborn

Ms Marten, who is known by the nickname Toots, is the granddaughter of Mary Anna Marten, who previously owned the Crichel estate in Dorset and was the goddaughter of the late Queen Mother.

Crichel is one of the most magnificent Georgian mansions in England, set in rolling Dorset farmland and was offered for sale for £98m. It has been bought by an American financier.

Police released a CCTV image of a woman believed to be Constance Marten

Police have appealed for anyone who has seen the missing couple to come forward urgently.

The pair hailed a taxi to Liverpool before taking another taxi to Harwich in Essex, arriving just after midnight on Friday 6 January.

Police said they were also in Colchester before taking a taxi to East Ham station. This was the location of their last confirmed sighting on Saturday 7 January.

The couple’s car broke down and later caught light

They could now be anywhere in the UK and Ms Marten and Mr Gordon have used scarves and hoodies to disguise themselves to avoid CVTV.

Investigators say the couple appear to know how to evade authorities – making the search for them harder.

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

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.”

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