Baby whose remains were found in Brighton 'may have been dead for several weeks' say police

  • Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford from the Met Police, and Chief Superintendent James Collis from Sussex Police give an update on Thursday following the discovery of a baby's remains.

Police investigating the discovery of the remains of a baby in Brighton in East Sussex say they believe the baby 'may have been dead for some time.'

Speaking on Thursday afternoon Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford from the Met Police, and Chief Superintendent James Collis from Sussex Police gave an update on the investigation which began in Bolton following the disappearance of Constance Marten, 35, and Mark Gordon, 48.

Detectives confirmed that the pair who have been arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter, remain in custody.

Officers say the operation will now be scaled back and have thanked the public for their 'outpouring of love and support.'

Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, who has been leading the investigation, said: "My team has been working on this investigation for the past eight weeks and we have travelled across the country as part of our searches for this baby.

"We are all truly devastated by the outcome and we know this emotion is also being felt here in Brighton and across the country today.

"While there are still many unanswered questions it is important that we give the investigation team the time and space they need to establish more details about the circumstances of this tragic death.

"At this stage we have not yet been able to confirm the baby's gender and a post-mortem examination has not yet taken place.

"Despite this, based on the enquiries we've carried out so far, we believe, sadly, the baby had been dead for several weeks before they were found. It's too early for us to provide a more specific date.

"Because we believe the death occurred during the course of a missing person investigation, we have made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

"This is standard protocol for such circumstances.”

Chief Superintendent James Collis of Sussex Police said the investigation has reached a "new phase" and the police presence around Brighton will be scaled back.

He added that officers have been "overwhelmed by kind messages and support" from the public and thanked "the huge number of people who have helped or offered to help in any way that they can".

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon had been on the run since January 5 when their car was found abandoned and on fire next to the M61 in Bolton.

On Thursday morning, a cordon was in place at allotments which were at the centre of Wednesday's search.

They were still being swept by officers from the Metropolitan Police, which is leading the investigation.

A forensic tent and police vans were in place in cordoned off Golf Drive while a nearby woodland area frequented by dog walkers was also closed to the public.

The couple remain in custody after police were granted a 36-hour extension by city magistrates on Wednesday.