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Edmonton woman accused of killing daughter ‘showed severe signs of mental instability’

A vigil for Rachael Longridge will start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Alberta campus.
A vigil for Rachael Longridge will start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Alberta campus. Courtesy/Danielle Bourque

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.”

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Christine Longridge, seen here in a 2007 interview with Global News, is charged with second-degree murder in her daughter’s death.
Christine Longridge, seen here in a 2007 interview with Global News, is charged with second-degree murder in her daughter’s death. Global News

READ MORE: Edmonton mother accused of killing daughter reportedly struggled with mental health issues

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.”

READ MORE: Police reveal ‘sharp forced injuries’ caused Edmonton nursing student’s death

Bottos said while it is his job to keep a professional distance from his clients, some cases are harder to handle than others.

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“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.

READ MORE: Vigil held for slain nursing student Rachael Longridge: ‘Rest easy my friend, we love you’

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.