Saturday 20 January 2018

Family told son (3) of murdered Sonia 'heaven needed an angel'

Claire Reddin, sister of Sonia Blount, outside the Central Criminal Court after Eric Locke was sentenced. Photo: Damien Eagers
Claire Reddin, sister of Sonia Blount, outside the Central Criminal Court after Eric Locke was sentenced. Photo: Damien Eagers

Eimear Cotter

The family of a woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend told her young son that God needed a special angel in heaven and chose his mammy.

Not a day goes by without Sonia Blount's boy Jake talking about his mother, Ms Blount's sister Claire Reddin said.

Ms Reddin said she is now raising Sonia's son as her own. He was only three years old when his mother was murdered in a Tallaght hotel.

Her murderer Eric Locke (35) was sentenced to life imprisonment by a judge at the Central Criminal Court yesterday.

He assumed a fake identity on Facebook and lured Ms Blount to a hotel bedroom where he strangled and suffocated her to death.

He was unanimously found guilty of her murder at the Central Criminal Court earlier this week.

Locke, of St John's Park East in Clondalkin, had admitted he caused the death of Ms Blount but said he did not mean to kill her and pleaded the defence of diminished responsibility.

The mum-of-one was found strangled in a room in the Plaza Hotel in Tallaght on February 16, 2014.

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty said he must impose a life sentence. As Locke was led away, a friend of Ms Blount's family shouted "Rot in hell, you scumbag."

In her victim impact statement, Ms Reddin said Ms Blount idolised her son, and everything she did was for him.

On February 17, 2014, Ms Reddin said they had to give Jake the most heart-breaking news, that his mammy was an angel, that "God needed a very special angel and he chose his mammy".

Ms Reddin said Jake spent many nights sobbing for his mother.

He slept in her bed and asked where she was, as she had promised never to leave him.

She said it had been a long road to make him feel secure, and she worried about the questions he will have and what he will read online as he gets older.

Ms Reddin said Jake is an amazing little boy and he is Ms Blount's legacy, and she knows that her sister is looking down proudly on him.

Tracey Blount said her late sister was so adventurous and "lived life to the fullest" and was "loved by everyone".

She said Ms Blount was a romantic and family was very important to her and she loved having her own little family.

She said Jake's special place is his mother's grave and he leaves little notes and talks to her.

She said Ms Blount was "taken in the most violent way without a thought for her family".

She said the family will never know how much she suffered or what her final words were.

Following the sentence hearing, Ms Blount's family said she made "an error in judgment and paid for it with her life".

Around 40 friends and family gathered outside the Criminal Courts of Justice to hear a friend, Liz Gaffney, read out a statement on behalf of the family.

Ms Gaffney said Ms Blount's death was a lesson to the public to be vigilant with how they used social media.

She said the sentencing of Locke "will never bring Sonia back".

"A special word of warning to everyone using social media sites, we urge you to please be cautious and be aware," Ms Gaffney said.

"It is so easy to set up false profiles, Sonia made an error of judgment and paid for this with her life.

"We would also like to thank the jury for the unanimous, timely decision and for seeing her murderer as the lying, manipulative person that he is.

"Sonia was an innocent, beautiful, kind, caring person and mother who is sadly missed by all of us who knew her and loved her," she added.

Irish Independent

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