Saturday 20 January 2018

Sonia Blount's son 'spent nights sobbing for mammy' court hears as murderer Eric Locke is sentenced to life

Son Jake was Sonia's 'entire world' - sister tells court as Eric Locke is sentenced to life

Mother-of-one Sonia Blount who was found dead in the Plaza Hotel, Tallaght, Dublin
Mother-of-one Sonia Blount who was found dead in the Plaza Hotel, Tallaght, Dublin
MURDER CHARGE: Mum Sonia Blount was found strangled in a Tallaght hotel room
Eric Locke ‘could have chosen not to strangle Sonia Blount’

Eimear Cotter

THE FAMILY of a woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend told her little boy that God needed a special angel in heaven and he chose his mammy.

Not a day goes by without Sonia Blount's boy Jake talking about his mammy, Sonia's sister Claire Reddan told the Central Criminal Court.

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

Eric Locke (35) was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Ms Blount.

He assumed a fake identity on social media and lured Sonia Blount to a hotel bedroom where he strangled and suffocated her to death.

He was unanimously found guilty of her murder by a jury of eight men and four women at the Central Criminal Court earlier this week.

MURDER CHARGE: Mum Sonia Blount was found strangled in a Tallaght hotel room
MURDER CHARGE: Mum Sonia Blount was found strangled in a Tallaght hotel room

Locke 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.

Sonia Blount
Sonia Blount

Locke, of St John’s Park East in Clondalkin, used a fake Facebook profile to meet Ms Blount, whom he had briefly dated. The relationship had ended in January 2014 after he called her a “slut” in a row after a night out.

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

Ms Blount's family and friends have been in the courtroom every day of the 11 day trial.

Members of Locke's family, including his sisters, have also attended every day.

Eric Locke ‘could have chosen not to strangle Sonia Blount’
Eric Locke ‘could have chosen not to strangle Sonia Blount’

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty said he must impose a life sentence.

As Locke was led away by prison officers, a friend of Ms Blount's family shouted "rot in hell, you sc*mbag".

In her victim impact statement, Sonia's sister Claire Reddan said Sonia idolised her son, and everything she did was for him.

On February 14, 2014, Ms Reddan said Sonia organised a Toy Story themed birthday party for Jake and "spoilt him rotten".

He was so happy, and spent the day smiling.

Ms Reddan said the next day Jake couldn't understand why his mammy hadn't called to say hello.

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

Ms Reddan said Jake spent many nights sobbing for his mammy and asking where she was, as she had promised never to leave him.

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

Ms Reddan said Jake is an amazing little boy and he is Sonia's legacy, and she knows that Sonia is looking down proudly on him.

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

Ms Blount said Sonia was "over the moon" when she discovered she was pregnant with Jake and he was her "entire world".

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

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

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

Ms Blount also said that no matter what happens in court the family "will never have their beautiful Sonia back".

Family friend Liz Gaffney said they were thankful for the judgment but "this will never bring Sonia back".

She warned others to be much more vigilant online.

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

"It is so easy to set up false profiles, Sonia made an error of judgement 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.

"For this our family is so grateful.

"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.

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