Monday 23 October 2017

Eric Locke: I wanted Sonia to listen to my pain as 'final act'

Eric Locke, inset, who murdered Sonia Blount
Eric Locke, inset, who murdered Sonia Blount

Eimear Cotter

A MURDER accused told a psychiatrist he wanted his ex-girlfriend to listen to his pain as his “final act” before he went to a park and killed himself, a jury has heard.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Richard Bunn was giving evidence on behalf of murder accused Eric Locke.

He said Mr Locke told him he had an “absolute need to explain” his pain to Sonia Blount.

Dr Bunn said Mr Locke also told him he had left a noose on a tree in a park and planned to kill himself after he met Ms Blount in a hotel bedroom but “thoughts and images of his family” prevented him from committing suicide.

Dr Bunn further claimed the fictitious “Shane Cully” persona was to Mr Locke as “Superman is to Clark Kent”.

He said he did not accept Mr Locke was insane at the time of the killing, but it was a case of diminished responsibility due to a “constellation of symptoms”, including pervasive development disorder, his borderline personality traits and his adult ADHD.

Eric Locke
Eric Locke

Mr Locke (35) has admitted he caused the death of Ms Blount but says he did not mean to kill her and is pleading the defence of diminished responsibility.

It is the State’s case that Mr Locke, of St John’s Park East in Clondalkin, posed as another man on Facebook and arranged a meeting in the Plaza Hotel in Tallaght, where he strangled her to death.

Her body was found in a room in the hotel on February 16, 2014.

The pair had briefly dated but the relationship ended on January 11, 2014 after he called her a “slut” in a row after a night out.

He later told gardai, during interview, that he became “severely hurt and depressed” when Ms Blount blocked him on Facebook, blanked him at work and told him to stop texting her.

Dr Bunn said he interviewed Mr Locke in Cloverhill Prison on April 7, 2017.

He said Mr Locke told him his relationship with Ms Blount was “like a breath of fresh air” and he felt she “understood him”.

When Ms Blount ended the relationship, Mr Locke said he was “consumed with pain”, suffered sweats, shaking and involuntarily rocking.

He also lost weight, was unable to concentrate and was drinking a bottle and a half of Jack Daniel a day.

He also “felt detached” and took comfort from planning his suicide and getting together a suicide bag.

Dr Bunn said Mr Locke told him Ms Blount was “oblivious to his pain” and cut off all communication with him.

He set up the “Shane Cully” Facebook profile because he was “normal” and, unlike him, did not feel “inadequate” or “inferior”.

In relation to meeting Ms Blount in the Plaza Hotel, Dr Bunn said Mr Locke told him he wanted Ms Blount to sit in a chair and “listen to his pain”.

He said Ms Blount was in bed when he got to the hotel room and told him “I’d a feeling you’d come”.

He asked her to hear him out, but he started crying.

She put her arms around him and then they made love. He couldn’t ejaculate and he took out the items, the cable ties, duct tape and gun, which he’d brought with him.

He said Ms Blount became “hysterical” and jumped up off the bed.

He said Ms Blount’s fear “set him off” and he grabbed her by the neck and they fell to the floor.

Dr Bunn said Mr Locke told him he had “no thoughts of stopping” as he strangled her.

He then left the hotel and took a taxi to a park where he had left a noose earlier. He stood on a container but couldn’t kill himself as he was thinking of his family.

Dr Bunn said Mr Locke told him “my family is the only reason for my existence”, and he had suffered feelings of worthlessness for many years.

These partly centred around his deformed penis, which he had been taunted about. Comments he received included “why’s it like that”. The sex act left him anxious, and he felt a failure as a man.

Dr Bunn said Mr Locke told him he believes he’s a good person and he’s good at imitating accents. However, he said he finds it very difficult to relax and finds social interaction difficult.

In his assessment of Mr Locke, Dr Bunn said he did not accept he was insane at the time of the killing and there was no evidence of a psychotic illness.

He also said he did not accept Mr Locke’s account that he was unable to stop himself killing Ms Blount.

However, he said a “constellation of symptoms” had led him to a finding of diminished responsibility” due to Mr Locke’s pervasive development disorder, his borderline personality traits, his adult ADHD and the fact he was “clearly suicidal” and “clearly disturbed” at the time.

Cross examined by Remy Farrell SC, Mr Bunn accepted there were substantial differences in Mr Lock’s accounts of what happened, noting he told gardai he wanted to “frighten” Ms Blount, while he told him he wanted to talk to her.

He accepted that if Mr Locke’s account to him of what happened was untrue then this would have “significant implications” for his findings.

Dr Bunn also acknowledged he was “at least the fourth” defence psychiatrist to see Mr Locke.

In compiling his report, he said he had relied on a report from another defence psychiatrist, Dr Sean O Domhnaill, who had diagnosed Mr Locke with pervasive development disorder.

Dr Bunn agreed with Mr Farrell that if Dr O Domhnaill’s diagnosis was incorrect then that impacted on his report.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Michael Moriarty and a jury of eight men and four women.

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