herald

Monday 25 September 2017

'God needed a special angel and he chose your mammy'

Sonia Blount’s sister Claire Reddan (centre) and mother Patricia (right) with friends and family outside court
Sonia Blount’s sister Claire Reddan (centre) and mother Patricia (right) with friends and family outside court

A friend of murdered young mother Sonia Blount shouted "rot in hell you scumbag" at her sick killer as he was led away to begin a life sentence for her brutal murder.

Twisted monster Eric Locke - who last night slept in the basement of Mountjoy Prison's C wing - strangled the mum-of-one with his hands and the cable of her phone charger, and suffocated her by forcing her T-shirt into the back of her mouth with such force that he broke her teeth.

Locke, who will now be known as Prisoner 90392, murdered the 31-year-old hours after her son's third birthday party, in what the judge described as "an unspeakable tragedy" for the child.

Lured

In their victim impact statement, Ms Blount's family said they have told her boy "God needed a special angel in heaven" and his mammy was chosen.

Not a day goes by without Ms Blount's son Jake talking about his mother, her sister Claire Reddan told the Central Criminal Court.

Sonia Blount
Sonia Blount

Ms Reddan said she is now raising Sonia's son as her own.

Locke (35) 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.

Her body was found in a room in The Plaza Hotel in Tallaght on February 16, 2014.

Locke, of St John's Park East in Clondalkin, used the fake Facebook profile 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.

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.

As Locke, who was convicted of Sonia's murder on Monday, was led away by prison officers, a friend of Ms Blount's family shouted "rot in hell you scumbag".

Sonia's sisters delivered emotional victim impact statements yesterday.

Ms Reddan said Ms Blount idolised her son and everything she did was for him. On February 14, 2014, Ms Reddan said her sister had organised a Toy Story-themed birthday party for Jake and spoiled him rotten.

Ms Reddan said, the next day, Jake couldn't understand why his mammy had not called.

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

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

In her victim impact statement, Tracey Blount said that their lives had changed forever on the day her sister died.

Torture

She recalled the family was coached by a therapist to say that a bold man had hurt Jake's mother but was in jail now.

"He was worried that this bold man might hurt him too," she said. "He cried for his mammy most nights."

She said the past three years had been "absolute torture because of the sudden, violent death of Sonia".

"No parent should have to bury a daughter," she said. "No three-year-old should have to visit his mammy's grave. Jake's special place is her grave. He leaves notes and he talks to her."

She said her sister's life had been taken in the most violent way, with not a thought spared for the heartache it would leave in her wake.

She said that the family still had questions like, "How much did she suffer in her final moments?", and "What were her final words?".

"Nothing can be undone. We will never have our beautiful Sonia back," she said.

Sentencing Locke to life behind bars, Judge Moriarty said "the touching evidence" of Ms Blount's sisters had given some impression of what "an exceptional person" Sonia was.

He added it was a tragedy for the whole family but, "for little Jake, it is an unspeakable one".

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