Constance Marten: Taxi driver recalls ‘uneasy feeling’ about coupleon January 31, 2024 at 5:31 pm

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Baby Victoria’s mother is at the Old Bailey with Mark Gordon for the first time since the trial began.

A court sketch of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon from the Old Bailey, by Julia Quenzler.Image source, Julia Quenzler

A London taxi driver has told a court he had “an uneasy feeling” about Constance Marten and Mark Gordon while giving them a lift in the middle of the night.

The couple are on trial for the manslaughter by gross negligence of their newborn baby girl, Victoria.

They both deny the charges.

In a statement to the jury on Wednesday, Abdirisakh Mohamud said the encounter he had after picking the trio up in his taxi made him “suspicious”.

Another witness told the Old Bailey she thought she saw the baby the following month in Brighton and later wondered if it was dead because it was so pale.

The parents travelled across England in taxis following the discovery of a placenta in their burnt-out car last year. They came to police attention following the car fire on the M61 near Manchester on 5 January 2023.

On Wednesday, jurors were told of things that police found near to the car, including a bible, a bag of more than 30 mobile phones, five used nappies and a cat in a cat box.

On 27 February, the pair were arrested in Brighton having been spotted without Victoria – whose body was found in a Lidl “bag for life” in a disused shed on 1 March.

For the first time since the trial started last Thursday, Ms Marten, 36, appeared in the dock beside Mr Gordon, 49.

A police handout of the couple's burnt out car on the M61 near Manchester.

Image source, Press Eye

Driver Mr Mohamud explained how, after picking up the trio in Whitechapel during the early hours of Sunday 8 January 2023, “the man asked me: ‘Are you Muslim?’, I said yes.

“He asked: ‘Do you believe in the Koran?’ I said yes.”

Mr Mohamud told the court that the man then asked if he was trustworthy, and if there was a camera in the car.

“I said yes, despite the fact that there wasn’t [a camera].”

He explained that the man went on to ask if their conversation would be shared with anyone – to which Mr Mohamud replied “no”, but noted it “added to my fear that something was not right”.

He also asked the couple why they were wearing blue Covid facemasks, and the woman said she was a Muslim and it was her “hijab”, the court heard.

On being told by the driver that it was not a hijab, she allegedly told him it was the only thing she had.

Mr Mohamud said he decided he was not happy to continue the journey and “had an uneasy feeling with this couple”.

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon

Image source, GMP

At the Old Bailey on Wednesday, Ms Marten – wearing a white blouse with pink flowers on it – could be seen exchanging a few words with Mr Gordon. The couple were sat with a dock officer between them.

Mr Mohamud told the court that instead of taking the couple and their baby to Tesco in Enfield, he dropped them off early on Green Lanes in Haringey, north London.

Jurors heard how he was so worried he stopped and spoke to some police officers about the pair.

“The more I thought about it the more I felt concerned about the baby,” he continued.

Having been dropped off in Haringey, the prosecution say the couple then ordered a minicab to Portsmouth.

The prosecution allege the couple were trying to avoid the authorities because their previous four children had all been taken into care.

They say the couple fled, travelling in taxis from Liverpool to Harwich, then onto Colchester and London.

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In a statement read to the jury, the driver of the new taxi, Hasan Guzel, described picking the couple up near an alleyway in Haringey. First Ms Marten got in, then Mr Gordon appeared with their bags.

Mr Guzel told them the price was £475. Mark Gordon tried to haggle, and then gave him the cash, though it was short by £5.

During the journey, the driver said he heard Ms Marten’s phone ping, and then he was asked to change the destination to Newhaven, East Sussex. He dropped them off near Newhaven Town Station just before 05:00 GMT.

“When I dropped them off it was cold, windy and dark. I was concerned as to what they were going to do next,” Mr Guzel told the jury.

The jury has heard that the couple walked out of Newhaven town centre towards the South Downs just before dawn on 8 January 2023.

Four days later, Ms Marten was recorded on CCTV at a Texaco petrol station in Newhaven buying sweets and petrol.

The jury heard from three witnesses who said they saw a blue tent in Brighton in February, including one woman who said she saw a baby that looked so pale that in retrospect she thought it might have been dead.

Pauline Mason told the jury she saw the small tent in Stanmer Park.

A little further up the road, she said she saw a woman with a baby who looked about five weeks old.

“The mother was focused on the baby”, Mrs Mason explained.

“The baby was cupped in the hand, and it had no hat on.”

She said the baby’s leg did not appear to have any sock or shoes on, adding the child was wearing “just a little cardigan, a pair of leggings, nothing else.”

Mrs Mason said the baby’s skin was “very pale. Very, very pale.”

“I do think that baby died. It was dead,” she said.

The witness said she also saw a man, who looked like Mr Gordon, on the same path.

Mrs Mason’s sister Mary Thompson told the jury she also saw a blue tent erected in the area and recalled pointing it out to her husband.

“I said ‘they must be bloody freezing or mad,’ because no-one would want to be out camping”, she explained.

“It was so cold.”

In a statement read to the court, Nicholas Frost described walking his dog with his wife when they saw a tent, and noticed a man resembling Mr Gordon emerging from it.

He said the temperature was -2C and “really windy”.

Baby Victoria was found dead some eight weeks later in a shed in Brighton.

As well as manslaughter, the couple are also accused of four other offences – cruelty to their baby; concealment of the baby’s birth; causing or allowing her death; and perverting the course of justice by concealing the body.

The trial continues.

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