A couple at the centre of a “national manhunt” fled their burning car with their newborn daughter, leaving nappies, clothes and the baby's placenta wrapped in a towel near the wreckage.

Onlookers saw the vehicle going up in flames with Constance Marten and Mark Gordon fleeing the scene, the Old Bailey heard.

One man who stopped to help said that he "blessed" the baby.

Ken Hudson, who alerted the couple to the flames in their car, said: “The person on the driver’s side [Mark Gordon] went to the rear of the vehicle. He opened the boot of the car and was frantically trying to get things out of the car.

"When the lady [Marten] ran past me she was bundled up in blankets.

"It looked like she had a blanket around her. She was bundled up when she ran past me. I could see that she was carrying a bundle and that bundle had a baby in it.

"She [Marten] said 'she's fine'."

Mr Hudson also said that he touched the baby's head and said words to the effect of "god bless, keep safe".

As it happened: Second day of Constance Marten trial 

When Tom Godfrey, representing Marten, contested that he touched baby Victoria's head, Mr Hudson said: "I know I touched the baby's head and I know what I said.

"Throughout the year [since Victoria's death] I have been cut up myself because I believe that if I had stayed with that vehicle and the people that that baby may still be alive."

Marten, 36, and Gordon, 49, are on trial accused of gross negligence manslaughter, causing the death of a child, child cruelty, concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice. They deny all the charges.

The court was shown video footage filmed by Mr Hudson of the car engulfed in flames.

The jury was told earlier that investigations of the car wreckage found nappies, newborn clothing and a placenta wrapped in a towel in and around the burnt-out vehicle.

The Argus: Constance Marten and Mark GordonConstance Marten and Mark Gordon (Image: The Metropolitan Police)

Marten and Gordon had trekked across the north of England before heading south. They were arrested in Brighton on February 27 last year.

Baby Victoria’s body was found on March 1 in a disused shed in Brighton, wrapped in a red Lidl “bag for life”.

The court has heard how Marten and Gordon left a mess in a holiday cottage that they stayed in over Christmas 2022.

Maria Richardson and her husband let Woodcutter Cottage in Northumberland to Marten via Booking.com before conversing over text message.

In a written statement read to the court, Ms Richardson said: "We arrived just after lunch at 1pm [on January 28]."

She described seeing "candle wax all over the living room table and carpet", the hob "caked in food" and "cat litter on the floor".

The jury was shown images from inside the holiday cottage taken by Ms Richardson.

The trial at the Old Bailey continues.