A couple have been charged with gross negligence manslaughter, concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice after the remains of a baby were found in woodland in Sussex.
The Metropolitan police said Constance Marten, 35, and Mark Gordon, 48, had been charged with three offences. They are due to appear in custody at Crawley magistrates court on Friday.
The couple sparked a nationwide search after fleeing seven weeks ago with their newborn.
They were detained without their child near Stanmer Villas in Brighton on Monday night after a tipoff from a member of the public. The pair did not reveal the baby’s location.
The arrests brought the hunt for the couple to an end and triggered a “painstaking” search, with hundreds of officers scouring open land within a 90 sq mile area in Sussex.
But on Wednesday evening, police officers said remains had been found near to where the couple were arrested.
A postmortem to determine how and when the infant died will take place on Friday, the Met said.
Barry Hughes, chief crown prosecutor for CPS London North, said: “The CPS has authorised the Metropolitan police to charge Constance Marten and Mark Gordon with gross negligence manslaughter.
“Constance Marten, 35, and Mark Gordon, 48, have also been charged with concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice. These charges arise from their arrest on Monday as a result of a lengthy police investigation to establish their whereabouts and that of their baby.
“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Constance Marten and Mark Gordon are active and that they have the right to a fair trial.”
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, the senior investigating officer, Det Supt Lewis Basford, said police believed the baby “may have been dead for some time” and that the case had been referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
He said: “At this stage, we have not yet been able to confirm the baby’s gender and a postmortem examination has not yet taken place.”
“Because we believe the death occurred during the course of a missing person investigation, we have made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. This is standard protocol for such circumstances,” Basford added.
The IOPC said it was “currently assessing the referral to determine what, if any, further action is required from us”.
Marten is from a wealthy aristocratic family with connections to the royal family and was a drama student before meeting Gordon in 2016. The couple had been missing since 5 January when their car was found abandoned and on fire next to the M61 in Bolton.
The couple are thought to have travelled from Bolton to Liverpool, then to Harwich in Essex, east London and Newhaven in Sussex, where they were reportedly seen near the ferry port on 8 January.