by Ludwig Hippolytus
The 35-year-old heiress to a royal family has disappeared with her 48-year-old partner, who served 20 years in US prison for rape and violence
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
LONDON – A young aristocrat on the run with her offended partner, a desperate family, appeals to the police, sightings across England: these are the ingredients of a thriller that has captivated Britons in recent weeks. She Constance Marten, 35, heiress to a noble family linked to royalty, a beauty already celebrated in high society who she has now lost sight of after she married her boyfriend, 48 Mark Gordon, a nomadic life, a man who served twenty years in America for rape and assault.
The couple have been missing since January 5 when their car was found burnt out by the roadside in northern England. Constance and Mark had been evicted from their flat in East London last August, charged with non-payment of rent and damages: since then they have been living, moving from city to city and sleeping in Airb&b, thanks to their almost unlimited funds. But two weeks ago they vanished into thin air: the young woman probably also gave birth to a child at the time, perhaps in the same car that burned down later that had been purchased for cash shortly beforehand.
So Constance and Mark took a taxi on the night of January 6th to go to the east coast of Essex, travel 400 kilometers and pay with a wad of banknotes: it is believed that they wanted to board a ferry to Europe, but then they were sighted the next day in Colchester, also in Essex, and finally at an east London train station. The CCTV cameras filmed them wrapped in scarves and hats in a clear attempt not to be recognized: but why and what they are fleeing from remains a mystery.
The police are looking everywhere for them, but time and again the couple manages to evade the hunt by paying cash in hotels and giving false names. As far as we know – said the Scotland Yard detective leading the investigation – neither Constance nor the child have received medical attention since birth. Our priority is to make sure the baby and the couple are comfortable and safe. Recently, the young girl’s father, Napier Marten, in his distinctive upper-class accent, appealed to his daughter over the BBC microphones: “I beg you find a way to contact the police as soon as possible,” he said, adding willing to do whatever is necessary for your safe return to us. Scotland Yard admit the couple could be anywhere and their switchboards are now awash with reports and sightings.
Before meeting Mark, Constance had enjoyed a life of comfort and privilege: growing up in an 18th-century mansion that also served as the setting for the film Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, she had attended exclusive private schools, which she alternated with vacations in Switzerland and America visited . At the age of 24, Tatler magazine, the bible of the English aristocracy, named her beauty of the month: In an interview, she talked about parties in aristocratic houses and the desire to have a turtle tattooed on her foot.
But in 2016, the young woman separated from her family and left her life behind after meeting Mark Gordon, a Brit who moved to America with his family as a child and was sentenced there to 20 years in prison for assault and rape of a woman when she was only 14 years old. After serving his sentence, Mark was deported to Britain, but it was not clear how his fate intersected with that of Constance, who previously seemed destined to move in quite a different circle: her father was one of Elizabeth’s pages his grandmother was the Queen Mother’s goddaughter, while his grandfather was equerry to George VI. But now Constance is a noble hunted across the kingdom.
January 20, 2023 (change January 20, 2023 | 12:09)
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