Mental health concerns for Airdrie man accused of murdering mother

·1 min read
Melanie Lowen is pictured with her son, Alexander James Thorpe, in this photo from social media. Thorpe is now facing second-degree murder charges after Lowen was found dead in January. (Melanie Lowen/Facebook - image credit)
Melanie Lowen is pictured with her son, Alexander James Thorpe, in this photo from social media. Thorpe is now facing second-degree murder charges after Lowen was found dead in January. (Melanie Lowen/Facebook - image credit)

There are concerns a young Airdrie man accused of murdering his mother was suffering a psychotic break at the time of her death.

Alexander James Thorpe, 20, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his mother, Melanie Lowen, 48, whose body was found in an Airdrie home in January.

Thorpe has been held at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre since he was taken into custody.

An NCR (not criminally responsible) assessment is being conducted.

If Thorpe is found to be NCR, it would mean there is evidence he was suffering a psychotic break at the time of the killing and didn't understand that his actions were morally wrong.

On Jan. 13, RCMP and EMS were called to a business in northeast Airdrie and found Thorpe in medical distress.

Mother 'most important person in his life'

Police found Lowen dead in a nearby home.

"It's pretty clear from the facts of the case there are some significant mental health concerns," said defence lawyer Balfour Der. "We are wanting to fully explore that at this time."

In terms of whether an NCR defence will be raised at trial, Der said he is "certainly heading down that road right now."

A trial date has not yet been booked.

It's not known whether the prosecution will contest the NCR defence.

Der says Thorpe's mother "was the most important person in his life."

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