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Constance Marten and Mark Gordon trial: Taxi driver was 'suspicious' of on-the-run couple with baby

A taxi driver became "suspicious" and felt "uncomfortable" after picking up a couple who were on the run with their newborn daughter, a court has heard.

Constance Marten, 36, and Mark Gordon, 49, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of the manslaughter of their baby Victoria. Her body was found in a Brighton shed last February.

It is alleged the pair travelled across England and lived off-grid in a bid to keep the infant after four other children were taken into care.

A police investigation began after a placenta and Marten's possessions were found in a burnt-out car on the M61 near Bolton last January.

In a statement read to the court on Wednesday, taxi driver Abdirisakh Mohamud said he became "suspicious" while driving the couple to a Tesco Extra branch in Enfield, north London, after they hailed him just after midnight on 8 January 2023.

Mr Mohamud said the male passenger - believed to be Gordon - asked if he was a Muslim, whether he was "trustworthy" and if there were cameras in the cab.

The man then asked: "Are you sharing this conversation with anyone?" Mr Mohamud replied: "No", jurors heard.

Mr Mohamud said he questioned the couple on why they were wearing blue COVID facemasks, to which the woman replied she was a Muslim and said it was her "hijab". The man also said he "had a problem with his hair," the witness said.

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The taxi driver said he feared "something was not right" and decided to drop the couple off early in Green Lanes in Haringey, north London.

"The more I thought about it, the more concerned I felt about the baby," he said.

Baby sounded like 'cat meowing'

The Old Bailey heard that the couple spent hundreds of pounds on taxis, including £475 for a three-hour trip from Haringey to Newhaven in East Sussex.

Taxi driver Hasan Guzel made the trip early on 8 January, and said the woman - believed to be Marten - had what appeared to be a bag under her coat.

During the journey, he then began to hear what sounded like a "cat meowing," the court heard.

"I was annoyed at first because I thought she had a pet without telling me. I could see it was a baby, I could see the noise was coming from a baby," he said.

"I thought why didn't she tell me about this, it's been nearly four hours we have been travelling."

He said when he dropped them off in Newhaven he was "concerned as to what they were going to do next" as it was cold and dark.

CCTV played to jurors on Tuesday showed the first glimpses of baby Victoria.

On Wednesday, the jury saw more security camera footage of the couple in Whitechapel, where Gordon brought a two-person tent and camping equipment.

Both defendants deny manslaughter by gross negligence between 4 January and 27 February last year.

Marten and Gordon also deny 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.