A woman who thought she saw on-the-run couple Constance Marten and Mark Garden on the South Downs said she was woken by a baby's "urgent" cries on stormy nights.

Aristocrat Marten, 36, and her boyfriend Gordon, 49, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of the manslaughter of their newborn daughter Victoria.

It is alleged the couple travelled across England in taxis and lived in a tent on the South Downs in a bid to keep the baby after four other children were taken into care.

They were arrested in Hollingdean, Brighton, last February 27 and on March 1 Victoria’s body was found in a Lidl supermarket bag, covered in rubbish in a disused shed.

Sarah Hidden, from Seaford, told the court she “bumped into” the couple while on a dog walk in January last year.

Ms Hidden, who gave evidence by video link, said that two days before she had been woken in the night by a baby crying.

She said: “It woke me up. It is mainly old people in our area. There aren’t any young children as far as I am aware.

“I was sleeping with the window open.

“It seemed to be coming from west to east on the first night, near Seaford Head golf course

“It lasted for 30 to 40 minutes and then I fell asleep again.

“It was definitely continuous.

“I thought it was a bit strange, it was a storm. I know people take babies out to get to sleep but don’t think they would do it in a storm."

Tom Little, prosecuting, asked if she could tell the age of the baby from the cries.

Ms Hidden said: “It was definitely a young baby crying.

“It’s a different sound to an older baby crying, more constant, a bit more high pitched, urgent sounding.”

The defendants, of no fixed address, deny manslaughter by gross negligence between January 4 and February 27 last year.

They are also charged with perverting the course of justice, concealing the birth of a child, child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial continues.