Baby missing with parents Constance Marten and Mark Gordon 'slept in tent in sub-zero temperatures'

  • Temperatures in London fell as low as -8C recently, hard to believe why anyone would sleep in a tent, as Simon Harris reports

A missing couple and newborn baby are believed to have been sleeping in a tent in sub-zero temperatures, the Metropolitan Police has said.

Constance Marten, 35, Mark Gordon, 48, and their newborn baby are believed to have gone into Argos on Whitechapel Road, east London, at 6.19pm on Saturday 7 January, to buy camping gear.

Mr Gordon entered the shop alone and bought two big bags full of items, including a blue two-man tent, two sleeping bags and two pillows.

He paid in cash and left the shop at 6.40pm.

The couple and their baby spent more than three hours walking around the Whitechapel Road area where they tried to flag down three black cabs, but were refused.

They left the area on foot and were last seen walking along Brick Lane towards Bethnal Green Road, at 10.01pm.

CCTV showing Mark Gordon carrying Argos bags Credit: Metropolitan Police

Mr Gordon is often seen walking alone ahead of Ms Marten and the baby, according to police.

This is the last official sighting of the family.

Last week, Ms Marten's father issued a plea for her to contact police for the sake of her newborn child.

It was also revealed Mr Gordon is a registered sex offender who served 20 years in a US jail for rape and battery.

Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, who is leading the investigation, said: “We are extremely concerned that a newborn baby – less than a week old at the time on 7 January – has been exposed to sub-freezing cold temperatures if Mark and Constance have been camping out somewhere as our evidence suggests.

“No child, especially a tiny, newborn baby, should be forced to endure such dangerous, potentially life-threatening, conditions.

Mark Gordon leaving Argos on 7 January Credit: Metropolitan Police

“This is why it is absolutely vital that anyone with information about their whereabouts contacts us as a matter of urgency – whether it is with a recent or older sighting.

"Every piece of information is crucial to enabling us to find the baby and ensure it is okay.

“My officers will continue working tirelessly behind the scenes to piece together the family’s movements and current whereabouts.

"It could be that they are trying to blend in with homeless communities, either here in London or further afield, or they could be camping in more rural or wooded areas.

"They could be absolutely anywhere in the country. Please keep your eyes peeled, especially while you are out and about in waste ground or beauty spots, or while you’re walking the dog, and report any information, no matter how insignificant you think it is, to us.”

A taxi dropping off the couple and their baby on Whitechapel Road Credit: Metropolitan Police

The couple and their child first went missing after their car broke down on a motorway.

Ms Marten and Mr Gordon left the car near junction four of the M61 near Bolton on the night of Thursday 5 January and walked towards Anchor Lane bridge, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

It is believed most of their belongings were destroyed in the car fire.

The couple and their newborn baby were last seen on Brick Lane (pictured) Credit: Metropolitan Police

Enquiries revealed that Ms Marten and Mr Gordon were the occupants of the car and that Constance had very recently given birth, possibly one or two days before, and had not been assessed by medical professionals.

Police launched a missing persons investigation was launched by Greater Manchester Police and it is now thought the couple travelled to Liverpool and then onwards to Harwich via a taxi at about 3.30am on Friday 6 January.

Mr Gordon, Ms Marten and a baby were seen by a member of the public in Harwich at about 9am on Saturday 7 January.

Mark carrying Argos bags on 7 January on Brick Lane Credit: Metropolitan Police

Police also received a number of confirmed sightings of the family in Colchester on 6 and 7 January.

The investigation was then handed to Essex Police on 9 January.

Essex Police carried out a number of enquiries and reviewed hours of CCTV and were able to place the couple near East Ham Station between 10.30am and 12:30pm on 7 January.

CCTV showing the couple on Whitechapel Road Credit: Metropolitan Police

As this was the last confirmed sighting of the family, the investigation was handed over to the Metropolitan Police Service on Thursday, 12 January.

Met Police detectives have now established that they took a taxi from East Ham, being dropped off in Whitechapel Road at 6.14pm.

The couple were spotted leaving the taxi with an orange carrier bag and a pram.

CCTV captured of them near Adler Street Credit: Metropolitan Police

They both have their heads and faces covered and Mark is wearing white plastic bags on his shoes.

Anyone who has information on the family’s whereabouts should call the incident room on 020 7175 0785.

Alternatively, information can be reported 100 per cent anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask for personal details and they do not trace your device.

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