A father being sought by police after disappearing with a missing aristocrat and their baby daughter is a convicted sex offender who has spent more than 20 years in jail.
Mark Gordon, 48, and partner Constance Marten, 35, have been at the centre of a nationwide police hunt for two weeks as fears have grown for the welfare of Miss Marten’s newborn baby.
It is believed that British citizen Gordon was deported from the US in 2014 after apparently serving 24 years in jail there for kidnap and sexual battery.
He was aged just 15 when convicted of the offences at a court in Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1990.
Ms Marten (pictured) and her partner have now been missing for days. However, there have been several sightings including in Essex and East London
Ms Marten and her partner Mark Gordon have been missing since January 5 after their car broke down and caught fire on the M61. The pair were seen leaving the motorway on foot with their newborn
Ms Marten is from an aristocratic landowning family in Dorset with ‘ties to the Royal Family’, and police say the couple have a substantial amount of cash, allowing them to live off-grid.
Police are also concerned that the large sum of cash they may have could mean they could evade the police for a significant amount of time.
Before she became estranged from her family, Ms Marten’s family put the Dorset estate, included a Grade I-listed mansion, four villages, a cricket club and a lake, on the market in 2010 for £100million, before its sale to an American buyer.
Ms Marten’s father, Napier Marten, was a pageboy to Queen Elizabeth II before giving up his £115million fortune after an ‘epiphany’ that told him to flee his ‘materialistic’ life.
A source told the Sunday Times that Ms Marten had access to a trust fund, reportedly from a multimillion-pound trust stored at C. Hoare & Co – the UK’s oldest private bank.
It is believed Ms Marten became estranged from her family because of her relationship with Gordon, however, is thought to still have access to her family’s funds.
Investigators say the couple appear to know how to evade authorities as CCTV footage shows them covering their faces or looking away – making the search for them harder.
Last September, Ms Marten and Mr Gordon began moving around the country, renting AirBnBs for brief periods.
Police released this picture of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon outside East Ham station at around 11.45am on Saturday January 7
Investigators said it is unusual for hotels to accept cash payments and appealed to staff at hotels or hostels where the couple may stay to come forward.
On January 5, they were on the M61 when their car broke down and caught fire near junction four at Farnworth, Bolton.
The couple then walked to Anchor Lane Bridge, where they got a taxi to Liverpool before getting another to Harwich, Essex.
They were seen around Colchester on Friday January 6 and Saturday 7, when they took another taxi to East Ham Station in Newham, London, and were last seen.
Each time Ms Marten and Mr Gordon are seen on CCTV, they are covering their faces or looking away, and have kept the baby covered up.
Police believe they could be anywhere in the UK and are appealing to the public to come forward with any information that may help find them.
She obtained a BA from the University of Leeds in 2012 in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.
According to her LinkedIn page, she used to work as a photojournalist and did a short stint as a researcher at Qatari news channel Al Jazeera’s London office after graduation.
When she was 21, Ms Marten was deemed an ‘It’ girl, appearing on fashion magazine Tatler’s Babe of the Month page, while she was a student in 2008.
In the interview the now missing mother described her love of the Swiss Alps and her trips volunteering in Nepal.
The aristocratic ‘it’ girl also took a crack at acting after enrolling at East 15 drama school in Essex, before dropping out in 2016 following an argument with her course tutor, according to the Sunday Times.
The same year, she reportedly started living with Mark Gordon in Ilford, East London.
A former classmate described Ms Marten as a ‘very talented’ actress who ‘could have gone very far’, before becoming estranged from her wealthy family.
The source said she had been using the trust fund to pay for the course at the drama school.
The couple’s neighbours in Ilford said the pair were ‘mysterious’ and rarely used the garden or were seen speaking to people.
The source believed Marten had a few odd jobs, but Gordon did not work.
The couple were later evicted from their Ilford home, moving to the Coldharbour Estate in southeast London.
Constance’s ancestors: Lt. Cdr George Marten with wife Mary and daughters Victoria, Charlotte and Georgina
In August last year, however, following a court hearing the couple were evicted for the second time, after not paying rent and leaving thousands of pounds worth of damage to the property.
It is unclear where they were living in the months between August and January of this year.
Detectives from the Metropolitan Police have joined colleagues from the North West in the hunt after Miss Marten and her partner were spotted outside East Ham station in east London, where they were last seen on January 7 at 11.45am.
The pair had disappeared after the car they were travelling in broke down near Bolton on Thursday, January 5.
They left on foot with their baby boy and have been missing since despite an extensive police search.
Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘Constance and Mark, I appeal directly to you, please think of your baby’s health and wellbeing and get in touch with us so we can ensure your child is medically well and has no underlying issues.
‘Please do this for your child. You wouldn’t be able to forgive yourself if they became poorly. All we want to do is help you and your baby.’
The Met Police have now taken over the investigation.
It is understood Miss Marten has not been in contact with her family for some time.
Ms Marten’s father, Napier Marten (pictured), was a pageboy to Queen Elizabeth II before giving up his £115million fortune after an ‘epiphany’ that told him to flee his ‘materialistic’ life
Police previously searched every hotel and B&B in Colchester after the mother and her newborn baby went missing.
The family were seen in the city earlier this month, but Miss Marten is believed to have been captured on CCTV after abandoning the car, which had been purchased six days before they went missing.
Information provided by taxi drivers suggests that the couple paid cash to travel first to Liverpool and then to Essex.
They later stayed at a hotel using false names. They were spotted in Harwich Port in Essex at around 9am on January 7.
Regular ferry services run from Harwich to the Hook of Holland. But Essex Police said the trio took a taxi from Harwich to East Ham station in Newham later that day.
Police said they are concerned that neither Miss Marten nor her baby have been assessed by medical professionals since she gave birth.
In police statements, Gordon is described as wearing dark clothing while Ms Marten is said to have a southern accent and was wearing a burgundy coat. The baby is swaddled.
After her car broke down on the M61 near Bolton on Thursday evening, Ms Marten is believed to have been spotted wrapped in red blanket in Harwich Port, Essex on Saturday at 9am
Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford said: “This is a complex investigation with officers from across the Met continuing to work around the clock to find Constance, Mark and their baby.
“There is nothing to suggest that any of them have come to any sort of intentional harm – we just need to ensure they are okay, especially the baby, and do not require any medical assistance for any underlying issues.
“The last confirmed sighting of them was more than a week ago in East Ham – they could now be anywhere in the UK, which is why it is vital that members of the public continue to contact us with any suspected sightings.
“The assistance you’ve provided so far has been invaluable. Please don’t forget about Constance, Mark and the baby – if you see them or think you have seen them then please contact us as a matter of urgency.”
Some 200 officers are working on the search and have scoured through more than 200 hours of CCTV footage since the pair were last seen on January 7.
Mr Gordon’s conviction relates to a Floida attack on a woman in her early 20s when he was 14.