Dartmouth death ruled a homicide, victim identified as accused in sex assault case

Click to play video: 'Homicide victim identified as man awaiting trial on sexual assault charges'
Homicide victim identified as man awaiting trial on sexual assault charges
WATCH: A man awaiting trial on sexual assault and forcible confinement charges has been killed. He was due back in court this week, but was found dead inside a Dartmouth home over the weekend. Police have ruled Alexander Joseph Frederick Thomas’s death a homicide. A warning, viewers may find the content of this story disturbing. Callum Smith reports. – Nov 15, 2021

A suspicious death in a Dartmouth neighbourhood this weekend has been ruled a homicide, and the victim has been identified as the accused in a high-profile sexual assault case.

Police were called to a residence on Braeside Court on Saturday, where they found the deceased victim.

The man has been identified as Alexander Joseph Frederick Thomas, 35, from East Preston.

His death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy conducted overnight by the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service.

Police were still on scene Sunday, where several homes and vehicles were taped off. Halifax Regional Police said the investigation is being led by the Special Investigations Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division.

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Police have not released any more details about the homicide.

On Sunday afternoon, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Nova Scotia confirmed Thomas is the accused in a high-profile sexual assault case, and was awaiting trial.

In February, a then 33-year-old was charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident that occurred in 2018.

Carrie Low, who identified herself as the complainant in that case, had been outspoken about the incident and how she said Halifax Regional Police mishandled the case.

The Nova Scotia Complaints Commissioner initially rejected her complaint because it was beyond the time limit to file a complaint, but that decision was later overturned by a judicial review.

Emma Halpern, the executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Nova Scotia and a member of Low’s legal team, said in a statement Sunday that Low was still processing the news.

“Carrie is shaken by the news of Alexander Thomas’ passing. Her sympathies go out to his family and community,” said Halpern.

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“She is also concerned about the impact this may have on her quest for justice in her case. Carrie and her legal team are still processing this shocking news and will be determining the way forward in the coming days.”

On Monday, Const. John MacLeod, spokesperson for Halifax Regional Police, said the investigation is still in its early stages and was unable to say if the homicide was related to the sexual assault case.

“Certainly, they’re looking at all avenues,” he said. “All information will have to be considered when they’re looking at how to resolve this.”

Mark Bailey, the lawyer representing Thomas in the sexual assault case, told Global News he expects the criminal charges against the deceased will be stayed on Tuesday, which would conclude that legal process.

Bailey also said Thomas had several young children, and that his family is grieving his death.

“They’re struggling right now. It came as a very big shock to them,” he said.

“The family is hopeful that this is dealt with expeditiously. They want to find out what happened and have this matter resolved.”

— with a file from Callum Smith 

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