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£10,000 police reward to locate couple and newborn seen travelling in and hailing London taxis

Image credit: Met Police

Detectives are offering a £10,000 reward for information that helps them to locate a couple and their newborn baby last seen travelling in London taxis.

The team of officers working around the clock to trace Constance Marten, 35, Mark Gordon, 48, and their newborn baby are continuing to urge the public to report any sightings of the family to the police – and are now offering a £10,000 reward for information that leads to them being found.

Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, who is leading the investigation, said: “We continue to be extremely concerned about the health and wellbeing of the newborn baby, which has had no medical care and has been on the move, and possibly exposed to sub-zero temperatures, for almost a month now. We’re also concerned for the welfare of Constance and Mark, because our enquiries suggest that they were constantly moving and awake for at least a few days – which must be especially draining on someone who had recently given birth with no medical attention.

“Finding the baby is our top priority and we are now offering a £10,000 reward to anyone who provides information which leads to them being found. Maybe you have been reluctant to come forward before, for whatever reason, with key information to help us find the family. It does not matter why you did not speak to us earlier, what matters is doing the right thing now for the good of a vulnerable newborn baby.

“Maybe you saw them wandering the streets? Perhaps they asked you for directions? Maybe they got into your taxi, or they came into your establishment to buy food and drink? Please contact us with any information you have, because every single bit of information we get will assist us with finding them. I’d like to stress that if you have taken cash to provide a service to the family, whether that’s giving them a lift, accommodation or something else, that you are not in any sort of trouble, we just need to hear from you.”

Detectives have been tirelessly working to trace the family and have now tracked them to Newhaven, in East Sussex. They were dropped off in a taxi at 04:56 on Sunday 8 January just outside the entrance to the port.

Image credit: Met Police

They then walked to where the A259 crosses over the B2109. They were seen sheltering from the rain, under the overpass, at about 06:00hrs.

They were seen carrying the bags containing the blue two-man tent, sleeping bags and pillows that they had purchased from Argos the evening before – meaning they could still be camping somewhere in the UK.

However, they were no longer in possession of the pushchair that they were previously seen with after they dumped it in Flower and Dean Walk, E1, at 23:46hrs on Saturday 7 January.

Image credit: Met Police

Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford added: “We have no evidence to suggest that they boarded a ferry in Newhaven, and we still strongly believe that they remain here in the UK – although they could be anywhere. Our enquiries also establish that the baby was alive and with them when they got the taxi to Newhaven.

“We know they were still in possession of camping equipment on Sunday 8 January and so I’d encourage people to remain vigilant and keep a look out for a blue tent. 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 to us.”

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.

Timeline of events

The investigation started when officers were called to a car on fire on the hard-shoulder of the M61, near junction four (Farnworth, Bolton) at 18:33hrs on Thursday, 5 January, officers. However, the occupants were not at the scene.

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

Enquiries revealed that Constance and Mark 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.

A missing persons investigation was launched by Greater Manchester Police, who established that the family left the vehicle and the motorway safely – walking to the Anchor Lane bridge which links the Highfield and Little Hulton areas.

Officers believe they then travelled to Liverpool and then onwards to Harwich via a taxi at about 03:30hrs on Friday 6 January.

Mark, Constance and a baby were seen by a member of the public in Harwich at about 09:00hrs on Saturday 7 January. Officers also received a number of confirmed sightings of the family in Colchester on Friday 6 January and Saturday 7 January.

Subsequently, the investigation was handed over to Essex Police on Monday 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 10:30hrs and 12:30hrs on Saturday 7 January. As this was the last confirmed sighting of the family at the time, the investigation was handed over to the Metropolitan Police Service on Thursday 12 January.

Detectives then established that they took a taxi from East Ham, being dropped off in Whitechapel Road at 18:14hrs on Saturday 7 January.

The couple are seen leaving the taxi with an orange carrier bag and a pram. They both have their heads and faces covered and Mark is wearing white plastic bags on his shoes, which he removes a short time later.

At 18:19hrs Mark went into Argos on Whitechapel Road, E1, and bought two big bags full of items, paying in cash, including a blue two-man tent, two sleeping bags and two pillows – which sparked fears they have been camping, including at times when the temperature plummeted to sub-zero.

They spent the next few hours walking along the Whitechapel Road area, where they tried to flag down three taxis but were refused. They then walked to the Brick Lane area.

At about 23:46hrs on Saturday January 7 they then went to Flower and Dean Walk near Brick Lane where they dumped a number of items, including the pushchair. They then got a taxi to Haringey.

At 01:24hrs on Sunday January 8 they then got in another taxi in Allison Road, Haringey, and travelled to Newhaven, where they were dropped off just outside the port at 04:56hrs.

They then walked to where the A259 crosses over the B2109. They were seen sheltering from the rain, under the overpass, at about 06:00hrs.

This is the last official sighting of the family.


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