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What led aristocrat heiress Constance Marten to be charged with gross negligence manslaughter, concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice alongside her partner, registered sex-offender Mark Gordon?
Earlier this month, during Marten and Gordon’s appearance in court, prosecutors revealed that their baby had been found dead in a plastic bag under some diapers in a shed. Their infant likely died weeks before being discovered, and at the time of discovery, it was not possible to determine if the baby had been a boy or girl, prosecutors said in court, according to The Guardian.
It was also revealed that the baby was named Victoria.
Details surrounding a postmortem examination have not yet been shared.
Authorities had been looking for Marten and Gordon since early January, when their car was found abandoned and ablaze next to a motorway. It is believed Marten gave birth to baby Victoria just days before.
But some believe the chilling saga that led to baby Victoria being discovered dead in a plastic bag under some diapers began all the way in a Nigerian church.
In 2006, Marten allegedly joined the Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos, then run by a controversial leader named TB Joshua, who calls himself the church’s prophet, the Independent reported.
“She said she played along but it was really weird. She said it was humiliating,” Joe Hurst, who left the group before Marten joined, told the Independent. Hurst told the Independent that Marten had gotten in touch with him years later, when attempting to understand what happened to her all the while pitching a documentary to Al-Jazeera, where she worked as a senior researcher in 2012 to 2013, according to her LinkedIn profile.
SCOAN is a popular destination for religious tourism among foreigners, according to reviews on Trip Advisor. A visit to the megachurch is invite-only, with interested visitors around the world seeking advice on how to obtain admission.
The church, founded by Joshua, rose to popularity in the late-1990s among high-profile foreigners and celebrities alike, according to CNN. By 2011, Joshua’s net worth was estimated between $10- and $15 million, according to Forbes, who called him Nigeria’s third-richest pastor, though the church denies such claims.
Marten was once made to eat Joshua’s leftovers, Hurst told the Independent. “It was taken as a big honor to eat his food,” he said, according to the report.
Disciples were also allegedly required to sleep in gender-separated dorms of around 50 bunkbeds, and lights are left on at all hours of the day, the Independent reported.
Marten remained with the church for six months, the Independent reported, and met Gordon nearly a decade later, around 2016.
Gordon was born in Birmingham, England, and was a young boy when he moved to Florida with his mom and half-siblings.
When he was 15 years old, Gordon was found guilty of kidnap and sexual battery. He had broken into a woman’s bathroom window, covered his face with a pair of her stockings, and was armed with a kitchen knife when he demanded the victim to undress, The Independent reported, citing court records.
Gordon eventually spent 20 years in prison before being deported to England in 2010, according to The Independent.
It was also around the time Marten met Gordon that she became estranged from her family, through which she has ties to Britain’s royal family. Her grandmother was the god-daughter to Queen Elizabeth and good friends with Princess Margaret, and her father was a page to Queen Elizabeth II.
SCOAN did not respond to Inside Edition Digital’s request for comment.
Did Aristocrat Constance Marten’s Time With a Controversial Nigerian Church Lead to Baby Victoria’s Death?
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