GRANTHAM Journal reporter Neil Graham has covered the death of Barrowby pensioner Mary Thorpe since that fateful day - March 31, 2011.
Here he offers Journal readers an insight into what it’s like for a reporter inside the walls of justice:
THOSE few people in Court 1 of Nottingham Crown Court on December 21 were given a disturbing insight into the mind of a man who somehow reached the decision to kill his own mother as she lay in her bed - despite her emotional pleas for mercy.
The story of how Barrowby man John Thorpe, a former pupil at King’s School in Grantham, came to stab his own mother to death, begins in 1990 when a brilliant mind succumbed to a mental breakdown.
Thorpe had attained a bachelor of science degree in applied physics, a master of science degree in astrophysics and was studying for a Phd at the time of his breakdown.
As a result, he was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs after suffering two instances of psychotic episodes. The dosage was reduced in 2007.
Leading up to the killing, John Thorpe began to resent his mother, believing she was not supporting him enough.
He told police after killing his mother: “It all seemed to centre on the fact that my mother did not value what I was trying to do.”
He spoke of his mother “tormenting” him by trying to speak to him while he was deep in thought. He said he “wanted to find a way of escaping from her”.
In court, prosecutor Gordon Aspden told how Thorpe complained of never having a woman of his own. This culminated in what Sigmund Freud may have termed an Oedipus manoueuvre - him making a sexual advance towards his own mother.
Mr Aspden said: “One day he made a proposition to his mother, but she turned him down.”
Thorpe spoke of “escape” as his frustrations increased. He said: “I was trying to find a way of escaping and solving the problems I have. Doing something drastic seemed the only possible solution.”
But it would appear Thorpe foresaw where he was heading and tried to do something to prevent it from happening. The day before the killing he bought a return train ticket to London. Then he changed his mind and instead headed to Sleaford.
He later told police: “I was trying to escape.”
He described walking around Sleaford but seeing only ‘chaos’ and seeking refuge in a nearby church. There he hid until, he told police, he was approached by a man he believed to be a priest. The priest told Thorpe he could not stay in the church as there was a funeral soon to start.
Thorpe claimed this was the final straw. Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said: “He took that as a sign that he should harm his mother.”
He then got a bus for Grantham but did not get off at his stop, instead staying on until Bingham. He purposely left his passport and driving licence on the bus.
He explained: “It would be difficult for me to leave the country unless I was reunited with my passport.”
He finally returned home to Barrowby where his mother was in the front room.
DESPITE being away for the whole day, neither spoke to one another and Thorpe made himself a cup of tea and went to bed.
The following morning he attacked his mother at exactly 6am, stabbing her to death and ignoring her pleas for mercy.
Thorpe fled to London where he first stopped off at the United States Embassy, before taking a room at the Grosvenor House Hotel.
He told police he stripped off all of his clothes and lay on his bed because “he hoped his clothes would be taken away and replaced with an Arab woman’s clothing - a burkha - so he would not be recognised”.
Staff at the hotel told police more about Thorpe’s “bizarre behavior” which included refusing to speak because he believed his room had been bugged.
He left London and headed to Swansea via Cardiff, finally coming to the attention of the police on April 1 after being spotted sitting by the side of a road. There he remained, without moving, for over two hours.
When approached, he told police: “I have set myself a challenge to sit here until Monday morning when things will become clear.”
The police found Thorpe was carrying a CV in the name Edward John Elfin. Thorpe would later tell police the CV was part of a planned new identity.
Thorpe said he believed a “transatlantic terrorist attack” would take place on April 4. He planned to use the attack to fake his own death and live under the new name.
Initially, Welsh police had no idea why this man was in Swansea. Checks on missing people in Wales found nobody fitting Thorpe’s description.
Thorpe initially told police he was in Wales as he was conducting a feasibility study into a new calendar with 30 days in each month. He said he was recalculating dates of important historical events to fit into the new format.
He then said he was also “forming a new language known as Earthlish” before adding that he shared the same birthday with Charles I.
Eventually, he confessed to killing his mother and Lincolnshire Police found Mary Thorpe’s body in the early hours of April 2.
Thorpe has now been committed to a psychiatric hospital at Arnold Lodge, Leicestershire. In sentencing him, Mrs Justice Macur said: “All doctors in this case agree this was a man with a chronic mental illness at the time he killed his mother.”
Throughout his interviews with police, Thorpe showed little or no remorse.
He said: “I believe my whole life has been planned for some particular purpose.
“I don’t know whether I’m a king. I don’t seem to be a king. Perhaps I am a prince.”