Inside holiday cottage ‘trashed’ by aristocrat and lover before they ‘went on run’ with baby

Photos put before the jury allegedly showed rubbish in kitchen, stains on the bed and cat litter left in the living room (Picture: PA)

These photos reveal the inside of a holiday cottage said to have been trashed by aristocrat Constance Marten and her lover before they allegedly went on the run with their baby daughter.

Marten, 36, and Mark Gordon, 49, caused the newborn’s death by living in a tent ‘off grid’ in the middle of winter so she would not be taken away from them by social services, it is claimed.

The Old Bailey has heard the infant – whom Marten told police was to be called Victoria – was the couple’s fifth baby, their other children having previously been taken into care.

It was their ‘selfish desire’ to keep the baby that ultimately led to her ‘entirely avoidable’, prosecutors say.

Jurors have heard how they travelled across England in cars and taxis between December 2022 and February 2023, with the baby tucked underneath Marten’s coat or kept in a Lidl ‘bag-for-life’.

On Friday, the owner of a Northumbria holiday cottage told the court it was trashed by Marten and Gordon when the couple stayed over Christmas 2022.

Maria Richardson said in a statement read to court that it was the first time her and her husband had rented their holiday cottage, which they had renovated themselves.

Marten and Gordon left wine stains on the quilt, urine on the bathroom floor and cat litter on the living room chairs, the court heard.

Constance Marten (Picture: PA)

Mark Gordon (Picture: PA)

Maria Richardson said in a statement read to court that it was the first time her and her husband had rented their holiday cottage (Picture: Met Police)

She described finding surfaces ‘caked in food and there were food stains all over’ (Picture: Met Police)

She said that Marten had booked the two-bed cottage on booking.com on December 20 and asked to check-in that night.

She said: ‘On December 20, 2022 at 4.04pm my husband came downstairs to tell me we had our first booking.

‘The booking was for the same day for six nights and the total cost was £367.20.’

Marten then messaged Ms Richardson saying: ‘Your property looks nice even without a bath- it’s a really nice cottage, one I intend to tell my friends about.’

Marten later rang her and asked how she could get the keys.

Ms Richardson said: ‘I asked where she was coming from and she stated Sheffield. I explained it would be pitch black due to time and gave her the key code.

The witness said ‘there was cat litter all over the floor and chair in the living room’ (Picture: Met Police)

Gordon and Marten booked into a holiday cottage in Northumberland (Picture: PA)

An overflowing bin at the holiday cottage (Picture: PA)

‘She sounded very young and demure during the phone call. I remember thinking she was in a busy place- it sounded very noisy and at the time I thought it was a busy office.’

Later Marten text her: ‘Hi Maria thank you very much for the prosecco and chocolates- that was much appreciated. I’m curious- did you do the interior design yourself? Thanks, Constance.’

Ms Richardson then sent texts on Christmas Eve and on Boxing Day with check-out instructions but Marten did not reply.

She and her husband then went to the cottage, which has a backyard overlooking woodland, on December 28.

She said: ‘As I went to put the key in the front door we both noticed the living room curtains were still closed.

‘The first thing I noticed was candle wax all over the living room table and on the carpet.

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‘There were washed up pans on the kitchen sink, dirty cups, glasses. The hob was caked in food and there were food stains all over.

‘There were urine stains all over the toilet and floor. There was cat litter all over the floor and chair in the living room.

‘There were numerous empty water bottles around the bedroom floor, empty cartons of fruit, the quilt had red wine stains and the throw had a curry stain.

‘In the back bedroom the bedding on both single beds was unslept in but disturbed.’

The bedsheets from the double bed were found laundered in the washing machine, the court heard.

Marten claimed to police she gave birth in the holiday cottage but the prosecution dispute this.

The trial continues.

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