Family: Sonia's killer's guilty verdict a 'relief' - but sitting through trial was like a second death
The family of Sonia Blount have described her killer's guilty verdict as a "relief", admitting they feared that he would get away with the shocking murder.
Speaking for the first time since Eric Locke was jailed for life for the young mum's murder, her sister and father said that they were "delighted" that the jury saw through his lies.
Sonia's sister Claire Reddin said: "It brought us a lot of relief. We were kind of doubting for a while - is he going to get away with this? We were doubting. When the verdict came back, the relief we felt was amazing. He had to take responsibility for what he did."
Locke was found guilty of murder by a jury at the Central Criminal Court after only one hour and 33 minutes of deliberations.
Sonia's father Chris Blount added that the day of sentencing was "difficult". "We were delighted that the jury came back so quick," he said on RTE's 'Claire Byrne Live' .
Claire Reddin said that it felt like "she's died all over again" as the family had to go through the trial and sentencing.
Locke used the fake Facebook profile "Shane Cully" to meet Ms Blount, whom he had briefly dated, at the Plaza Hotel in Tallaght in February 2014 before strangling and suffocting her.
Their relationship had ended the month before.
- Read more: 'The jury saw through all his lies' - Family of Sonia Blount say killer Locke was 'never sorry'
Claire said it was not like her sister to trust somebody enough to meet them in a hotel room when she'd never met them before, saying it was "so out of character".
"We still just can't believe that she did that. The only thing is around that time she was lonely. She'd gone through the breakup with her child's father, and she had all the stuff with Eric, and it was near Valentine's Day. It was so out of character."
The heart-broken family admitted they will never really know what happened in the hotel room where Sonia died.
"There's only person knows what happened in that hotel room," Chris said.
Claire added: "And we don't believe anything, we don't believe his statements. We don't believe a word he says."
She added of killer Locke: "He was never sorry. If he was sorry he never would have put us through that trial. Never."
Sonia's father Chris said the family are "getting along as best we can" and Claire added that Sonia's son Jake is doing well despite the trauma.
"We're just a normal family, she was just a normal girl. You never dream that something like this would ever happen in your family," Claire said.