Constance Marten and Mark Gordon trial: Baby had 'no clothes' on during parents' on-the-run taxi trip, jurors told

A newborn baby - who was later found dead in a bag - was wearing "no clothes" during a winter taxi trip from Liverpool to Essex, a court has heard.

The child's parents, Constance Marten, 36, and Mark Gordon, 49, who were on the run early last year, deny manslaughter by gross negligence, their trial was told.

They are said to have motivated by a "selfish" desire to keep the child after four other children were taken into care.

The Old Bailey heard they spent hundreds of pounds on taxis and lived off-grid before being arrested in Sussex in February 2023.

The body of baby Victoria was found in a Lidl bag in a Brighton shed days later.

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

The couple allegedly abandoned the car after it caught fire.

A local person who gave them a lift to Bolton town centre told jurors the child was wrapped in a blanket.

CCTV played in court showed the baby allegedly being hidden under Marten's coat as they waited in the bus station.

They are then said to have taken taken a taxi to Liverpool, before catching another to Harwich in Essex in the early hours of 6 January.

The driver, Ali Yaryar, told the Old Bailey the woman was "shivering" and asked him to turn up the heating.

He said he quoted the couple £400 for the 240-mile journey and that he noticed the baby was only wearing a nappy.

The couple told him their car had broken down and the woman breastfed the baby during the trip, said Mr Yaryar.

He also described the couple arguing and the woman saying "he's not very helpful".

Defence lawyer John Femi-Ola KC suggested the baby did have clothes - and only had a nappy on while she was being changed.

Mr Yaryar replied: "I think the baby had no clothes."

He said he recognised the couple when he later saw news coverage about the appeal to find them.

'Room smelled like rotten flesh'

Arriving in Harwich at 3am, Marten and Gordon checked in to a Premier Inn, paying in cash and using a false name, the court heard.

Staff said Marten had the baby strapped to her front under a blanket and looked "quite distressed" and "drained".

They described her as having a "posh" accent and looking like a character from Disney film Brave.

Receptionist Rae Robson told jurors Marten appeared stressed when they were forced to make them leave the next day as they didn't have proof of identity.

Ms Robson said: "She asked to extend her stay for another night.

"She only had cash, she had no identification on her or a bank card because it was left in the car that broke down.

"I told her I would give her about 10 minutes to get her stuff together and leave."

The vacated room smelled like "rotten flesh" or an "infected piercing", the receptionist added.

The couple are then said to have gone into a restaurant next to the hotel, with Marten carrying the child into toilets.

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.