'The jury saw through all his lies' - Family of Sonia Blount say killer Locke was 'never sorry'
THE family of Sonia Blount have described her killer’s guilty verdict as a "relief", and have now warned others to be careful on social media.
Speaking for the first time since the sentencing hearing, the sister and father of Ms Blount also said that they were “delighted” that the jury saw through Eric Locke’s 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.
“We didn’t know whether to trust, did we? When the verdict came back, the relief we felt was amazing. He had to take responsibility for what he did,” she said on RTE’s Claire Byrne Live.
Locke was found guilty of murder by a jury at the Central Criminal Court after only one hour and 33 minutes deliberating.
Sonia’s father Chris Blount added that the day of sentencing was "difficult".
“You know. But we were glad. We were delighted that the jury came back so quick. They saw through all his lies.
“There’s only person knows what happened in that hotel room,” Mr Blount said.
Ms Reddin argued that Lock was never sorry for his actions despite apologising.
"He was never sorry. If he was sorry he never would have put us through that trial. Never. He should have pleaded guilty straight away. And even when he said it, it wasn’t even sincere. I think it was just to say it so that everyone would see it."
Asked how the family are coping now Ms Reddin said it has been a "long road", especially for Sonia's son.
"Because it’s three years later it’s like she’s died all over again... because of the trial and the sentencing. The attention. Jake – he’s six now, he has no privacy, his privacy is gone. Like when he was going to school, people didn’t know. A lot of people didn’t know that I wasn’t his Mammy. And now everybody knows."
Asked what their message is for anyone using social media Ms Reddin said: "Just be so careful. That Shane Cully Facebook page had friends, it had pictures, it had messages from people wishing him happy birthday. Like, there was no way if she looked at that she would have known it was fake. "You just have to be so careful.
"It was so foolish what she done, to meet somebody privately like that. You have to meet someone in a bar, or tell people where you’re going. We had no idea where was, so we had to spend half the next day looking for her. Whereas, if somebody had known, the process wouldn’t have drawn out so long the next day."
Independent.ie previously revealed how murderer Eric Locke is seen as a “cold-hearted” and “scheming” monster who is despised by other inmates.
The former model, jailed for life last Friday for the murder of mum-of-one Sonia Blount, had claimed during his 11 day murder trial that the pair had consensual sex and that he had not set out to kill her.
However, a photograph, taken shortly after he strangled and suffocated his ex girlfriend, exposes Locke as the murderous liar who took the Tallaght woman away from her young son Jake.
The image, which shows Locke with a number of cuts bruises and scratches to his face, tells the sad tale of how Sonia bravely fought for her life after her former partner tricked her by using a fake Facebook profile. He then turned up at her hotel room where he strangled her with his hands and the cable of her phone charger before suffocating her.
Now known as prisoner 90392, Locke spent the weekend on the C Wing of Mountjoy prison after a Central Criminal Court jury found him guilty of Sonia’s murder in The Plaza Hotel in Tallaght in February, 2014.
Locke (35), murdered the 31-year-old mother hours after her son’s third birthday party.
He assumed a fake identity on Facebook and lured Ms Blount to the hotel bedroom where he killed her.
Locke had admitted he caused Ms Blount’s death but said he did not mean to kill her and pleaded the defence of diminished responsibility.
The mugshot of his scratched and swollen, taken after Locke handed himself into authorities, shows how much Sonia fought for her life.
It’s also understood that Locke’s arms and legs were covered with carpets burns when he was arrested.
Locke used the fake Facebook profile “Shane Cully” to meet Ms Blount, whom he had briefly dated. Their relationship had ended in January 2014 after he called her a “slut” in a row after a night out.