More than 200 police officers in Brighton are said to be continuing “extensive searches” for Constance Marten and Mark Gordon’s missing baby.
35-year-old Constance Marten, and 48-year-old Mark Gordon, both went missing, along with their newborn baby after their vehicle broke down close to Junction 4 of the M61 near Farnworth in Bolton on Thursday 5 January 2023.
Ms Marten was believed to have very recently given birth at the time of the disappearance, and had not received professional medial care.
Over the coming days following their initial disappearance, sightings of the couple were reported in a number of places across the UK – including Liverpool, Essex, south London and East Sussex.
Police and local authorities believed the then-missing couple had been sleeping rough in a blue tent, and had avoided being traced by moving around frequently and keeping their faces covered in CCTV images.
But yesterday, after nearly two months of searching, it was confirmed by the Metropolitan Police and Sussex Police that shortly before 9:30pm on Monday 27 February, a member of the public reported a sighting of the couple in Stanmer Villas in Brighton, and officers attended the location and subsequently arrested the pair.
They were initially arrested on suspicion of child neglect, police confirmed, and were later further arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.
The couple remain in custody – but the search for their missing baby has now entered the second day, with police issuing the latest update and public appeal last night.
Over 200 officers from multiple units in the Met and Sussex Police are currently involved in the search for the newborn, with a police helicopter, sniffer dogs, thermal imaging cameras, and drones also being used to assist officers on the ground.
“Throughout this investigation, our key priority has been finding the baby, and we remain committed to that,” explained Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford in last night’s appeal, adding that there is “a significant amount of police search activity in open spaces to the north of Brighton near to where the couple were arrested.”
To aid in their search, police are appealing to members of the public between Brighton and Newhaven to report any potential sightings or information about where the couple may have been sleeping.
“I’d also ask people living in these areas to report any suspicious behaviour or items found in their gardens, outbuildings, and sheds, between then and now,” DS Basford added.
“Equally, if you are out walking in these areas and you discover something you think we should know about, please don’t hesitate to contact us, no matter how insignificant it may seem.”
Police say support from the public throughout the search and investigation has, and continues to be, “vital”, but they are asking people to “remain vigilant” as their searches continue.
Anyone with any sightings or information that could assist the search is asked to call the Met Police’s incident room on 0208 3453 865 or 999 with anything they believe may be significant.
Featured Image – GMP
Rio Ferdinand is helping change young lives with community programmes in Oldham and Salford
Ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand and his foundation’s wonderful work is helping better the lives of young people in Oldham, Salford and across Manchester as a whole.
Over the past year, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and The Guinness Partnership have been putting together a vital social initiative aimed at providing opportunities and resources to young people across Greater Manchester, helping them develop their skills and aspirations for future working life.
Now, after a hugely successful 12-month campaign, their skills and progression community programme, participants are well and truly starting to feel the impact, with 90% of those taking part now stating that they are enjoying a clear idea and focus on what they want to do for a career.
It may have be thriving in Salford and Oldham at the moment, but given the benefit the scheme has already had — not to mention the ambition the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has shown around various areas of the UK since being set up in 2012 — we can only see this spreading further across the region.
The skills-based initiative engages young people aged under 25 years old and living in Guinness homes in a six-month skills-based programme which has been up and running in the two Manc boroughs, as well as the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, since March 2022.
Young people from both Oldham and Salford take part in a weekly schedule of activities designed to tackle youth unemployment, including digital media training (photography, product design, filmmaking, podcasting), building and construction, CV workshops, mock interviews and more.
Not only do these shadowing opportunities garner confidence and raise aspirations among other young people in the local community, but they also help directly develop their employability skills via mentoring.
For instance, Matthew, 19 from Royton in Oldham, completed the programme and then was supported to apply to the Guinness Aspire Awards to request funding to purchase camera and lighting equipment to help him start a small local photography business. Quality stuff.
Matt says that the scheme “has been an amazing opportunity and has given [him] a chance to get back on the right path… I know what I want to do now and can’t wait to start… I would recommend that other people in my position get involved with it in the future.”
As well as markedly increasing participants health and well-being, all 100% of those involved across Salford and Oldham reported feeling more confident, with many now enjoying opportunities with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s partners such as Warner Music, Kiss FM, The Jockey Club and the Gym Group.
Speaking on the programme’s success, Rio himself said in a statement: “The Foundation is committed to working with young people at the heart of their communities to offer support, training, and opportunities to those that need it… engaging with the Guinness Partnership has provided a great boost to our reach and our work”.
Well in, Rio. Thankfully, he isn’t the only ex-Manchester-based footballer still trying to make a difference in the local community either:
Campbell, 38, was found dead in his home in Mossley, Tameside, on Saturday 3 July. He had been fatally assaulted and died of the injuries he sustained in the attack.
Belfield was arrested on 23 March 2023 by Suriname authorities on suspicion of drug-related offences – he’ll likely remain in the South American nation’s jurisdiction to face these charges.
Then GMP want to bring him back to Manchester to face questioning from GMP’s Major Incident Team.
Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson from GMP’s Major Incident team said: “The news of Belfield’s arrest is an important development in our investigation, we will be working with international law enforcement agencies to bring Belfield back to Manchester and continue in our pursuit to find answers for Thomas’ family.
“Through vigilance shown by our colleagues in South America, Belfield was recognised by Suriname’s law enforcement upon his arrest and information regarding his whereabouts was shared with our Force Critical Wanted Unit.
“We have previously released numerous appeals to ask for help in finding him and we thank the public for their continued support in this case.
“This is an excellent result which shows once again, that UK law enforcement does not give up on finding those abroad who are wanted for offences in the UK.”