An Edmonton woman charged with second-degree murder in her daughter’s death showed “severe signs of mental instability” in the weeks leading up to the killing, her lawyer said Tuesday.
Christine Longridge, 50, was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning but her lawyer, Dino Bottos, appeared on her behalf. Bottos said his client has spent the past few weeks in Alberta Hospital.
“Christine, according to family and friends, has been suffering from bipolar disorder for a very long time – over 10 years and has had very serious bouts of it over the years,” he said Tuesday.
“In the last few weeks leading up to Dec. 23 she was showing severe signs of mental instability. Family members were troubled. She had been hospitalized for a short period of time,” he continued. “It’s my feeling that this will have a substantial significance with respect to the disposition of this case.”
On Dec. 23, 2016, police were called to a home in the area of 122 Avenue and 132 Street. Rachael Longridge, 21, was found with severe injuries and died at the scene. Police said she died of “multiple sharp forced injuries” but would not provide further details.
“Christine, by all accounts, was a very loving mother and good person and violent tendencies would be outside of her character,” Bottos said. “Something leads me to believe that whatever happened was not due to her consciously knowing what she was doing.”
Bottos said while it is his job to keep a professional distance from his clients, some cases are harder to handle than others.
“In a case like this, everyone – every human being, every parent – finds it hard to fathom how one could be alleged to have killed their own child,” he said. “I feel a great deal of sympathy for Christine Longridge and I feel a great deal of sympathy for her son, Michael, who is only 18.”
Bottos said Michael and Rachael lost their father to cancer last year.
“Now Rachael is gone and his mother has been charged with having killed her. I feel a tremendous amount of sympathy for Michael and for Christine and for the rest of the family. This is devastating. It’s something that I don’t know how somebody can get through at whatever age, and especially as a young man of 18. That’s got to be extremely difficult.”
Rachael recently graduated from nursing school and was set to start a job at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute at the beginning of January.
A date for a preliminary inquiry will be set next week once a Crown prosecutor is assigned to the case, Bottos said. He expects a psychological assessment will be ordered for his client.