herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Mugshot that shows how brave mum Sonia battled 'calculating and cold' killer Locke

Scratches and marks are visible on Locke’s face in this garda mugshot
Scratches and marks are visible on Locke’s face in this garda mugshot

He may have just begun a life sentence for the brutal murder of a young mother, but killer Eric Locke is already gaining a reputation behind bars as a "cold, calculating" and "scheming" monster.

The former model, jailed for life on Friday for the murder of mother-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, this 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 had turned up at her hotel room, where he strangled her with his hands and the cable of her phone charger before suffocating her.

Schemer

Following his sentencing on Friday, a friend speaking on behalf of the Blount family thanked the jury for "seeing her murderer as the lying, manipulative person that he is".

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 Ms Blount's murder at The Plaza Hotel, Tallaght, in February 2014.

However, the Herald can reveal that the brutal killer has already made a name for himself with prison staff, who described him as a cold and calculating monster. They also labelled him as a schemer with no apparent emotions at all.

"He's one we're glad to see get his 'L' [lifer] plates," a source said.

Locke (35) murdered the 31-year-old mother hours after her son's third birthday party.

Mother-of-one Sonia Blount was murdered in February 2014
Mother-of-one Sonia Blount was murdered in February 2014

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.

In her victim impact statement, her sister, Tracey Blount, said the past three years had been "absolute torture because of the sudden, violent death of Sonia", adding that her family had questions that would never be answered.

"How much did she suffer in her final moments? What were her final words?" she said.

The mugshot of his scratched and swollen face, taken after Locke handed himself into authorities, shows how much Ms Blount fought for her life.

It is also understood that Locke's arms and legs were covered with carpet burns when he was arrested.

Sonia’s family and friends after Locke was found guilty of the murder of the young mum. Photo: Collins
Sonia’s family and friends after Locke was found guilty of the murder of the young mum. Photo: Collins

"After Locke initially arrived in Cloverhill Prison, he was medically examined," a source said. "His injuries were consistent with someone with defence wounds one would receive while carrying out an attack of a sexual nature.

"As well as the injuries to his face, he had carpet burns on his arms and legs.

"Locke refused to discuss the murder of Sonia Blount with prison officers but he made it clear he believed he was far better than the other inmates in the prison."

It is also understood that Locke did not make himself popular with other inmates while he was on remand in Cloverhill Prison.

Following his conviction for murder last week, the Herald revealed that gardai recommended that Locke be charged with either the sexual assault or rape of the young mum .

However, while the DPP decided that Locke be charged with the murder of Ms Blount, prosecutors deemed that there was not enough evidence to charge him with the sexual offences.

It has also emerged that gardai found a secret "kill list" after they stormed Locke's home following Ms Blount's murder.

During the raid in St John's Park East, Clondalkin, West Dublin, it is reported investigators recovered a bag containing handcuffs, a Stanley knife, a hammer, white tape and a screwdriver set.

In a sick twist, it is also reported the names, addresses and phone numbers of other women - some of which were obtained from Facebook - were found on sheets of A4 paper and on an envelope during the raid.

Cried

Locke used the fake Facebook profile 'Shane Cully' to meet Ms Blount, whom she had briefly dated.

Their relationship had ended in January 2014 after he called her a "slut" during a row after a night out.

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

She recalled the family was coached by a therapist to tell Sonia's son Jake that a bold man had hurt his 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."

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

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