On the run mother Constance Marten has denied harming her newborn daughter, saying: “I did nothing but show her love.”

Wealthy aristocrat Marten, 36, and her partner Mark Gordon, 49, are on trial over the death of baby Victoria while living off-grid in a tent on the South Downs in wintry conditions last year.

On Thursday, Marten went into the witness box to give evidence in her defence after Gordon declined the opportunity earlier in the week.

Defence barrister Francis FitzGibbon KC asked her: “Did you do anything to harm baby Victoria?”

Marten replied: “Absolutely not.”

Mr FitzGibbon said: “Did you do anything cruel to baby Victoria?”

Marten said: “No. I did nothing but show her love.”

She told jurors she did not expose her baby to cold or allow her to get too hot so far as she was aware.

Mr FitzGibbon said: “So far as you are concerned, did you give her anything less than the proper care you thought she deserved?”

Marten replied: “I gave her the best that any mother would, yeah.”

She told jurors Victoria died last January 9, saying: “I do not think it is anything I will ever move on from.”

She said she felt “guilty”, adding: “I think initially it was disbelief, shock, intense grief.”

Greater Manchester Police had launched a nationwide search after a placenta was found in the couple’s burnt-out car by the motorway near Bolton, Greater Manchester, last January 5.

It is alleged the defendants went on the run because they wanted to keep their daughter, after four other children were taken into care.

Days after the defendants’ arrest last February 27, Victoria’s badly decomposed body was found in a Lidl bag inside an allotment shed in Brighton, East Sussex.

While the cause of her death is “unascertained”, jurors have heard she could have died from the cold or co-sleeping.

Marten told police Victoria died when she fell asleep in the tent while holding her under her jacket.

The court has heard Marten had previously been warned by social workers of the risks of falling asleep with the baby on her and that a tent would be “wholly inappropriate for a baby to live in”.

The defendants, of no fixed address, deny manslaughter by gross negligence, perverting the course of justice, concealing the birth of a child, child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child.