A baby who was kept in a "bag for life" would be alive if not for the “callous and cruel” actions of her parents, a court has heard.

The death of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon’s new-born daughter was described as “entirely preventable” after she was found in a plastic bag “covered in rubbish” in a disused shed in Brighton.

A prosecution lawyer opening the case at the Old Bailey today told the jury that the baby, called Victoria, would not have died if not for the couple’s “selfish desire to keep their baby girl”.

Tom Little KC, prosecuting, described Marten and Gordon’s daughter as “a young baby girl who would still be alive if it was not for the reckless, utterly selfish, callous cruel, arrogant and ultimately grossly negligent conduct of these two defendants”.

He told the jury: "Their selfish desire to keep their baby girl led inexorably to the death of that very baby.


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"After the baby had died the defendants did not hand themselves in but instead remained off-grid and trying to hide, leaving the body of their dead baby in a shopping bag covered in rubbish, as if she was refuse, and left in a disused shed."

Mt Little said it appeared the baby had spent much of her life in the bag.

The couple are accused of gross negligence manslaughter, concealing the birth of a child, causing or allowing the death of a child, child cruelty and perverting the course of justice. They deny all charges.

The court heard baby Victoria was born on Christmas Eve 2022.

The couple then gradually travelled, with their newborn, from the North West of England to Essex, London and finally Sussex.

Marten, 36, Gordon, 49, and stopped in various towns and cities on their journey, including Newhaven. Mr Little said the couple “may have considered trying to leave the country”.

As it happened: Baby 'spent life in bag for life', Constance Marten and Mark Gordon trial hears

En route, a car the couple were using caught fire by the side of the motorway. Marten and Gordon fled the scene.

Greater Manchester Police found a placenta in a bag, nappies and new-born clothing in and around the wreckage of the car.

Marten and Gordon were arrested in Golf Drive, Brighton, on February 27.

Baby Victoria's body was found in a disused shed on March 1, wrapped in a plastic bag and in a red Lidl bag for life. The court heard she 

The couple have been in a relationship since 2016. The jury was told that baby Victoria was their fifth child. All four of their other children had been taken into care.

Gordon appeared in court wearing a blue shirt and dark blue tie.

Marten was not present at the hearing.

The trial continues and is expected to last until March.