'We're delighted jury saw through killer's lies' - Sonia's family
The family of Sonia Blount has described her killer's guilty verdict as a "relief", admitting they feared he would get away with the shocking murder.
Speaking for the first time since Eric Locke was jailed for life for the young mum's murder, her sister and father said that they were "delighted" that the jury saw through his lies.
"It brought us a lot of relief. We were kind of doubting for a while - is he going to get away with this?" said Sonia's sister Claire Reddin.
"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 last week after only one hour and 33 minutes of deliberating.
Sonia's father Chris Blount added that the day of sentencing was "difficult".
"We were delighted the jury came back so quick. They seen through all his lies," he said.
Locke used a fake Facebook profile under the name 'Shane Cully' to meet Ms Blount - whom he had briefly dated - at The Plaza Hotel in Tallaght in February 2014, before strangling and suffocating her.
Claire said it was not like her sister to trust somebody enough to meet them in a hotel room when she had never met them before, saying it was "so out of character".
"We still just can't believe that she did that. The only thing is, around that time, she was lonely," she said. "She'd gone through the break-up with her child's father, and she had all the stuff with Eric, and it was near Valentine's Day.
"The only thing I can think of is she was lonely. We still can't understand why she would... it was so out of character."
The heartbroken family admitted they will never really know what happened in the hotel room where Sonia died.
"There's only person knows what happened in that hotel room," said Chris.
Claire added: "And we don't believe anything, we don't believe his statements. And it's very inconsistent what he said as well. He's changed it so many times. We don't believe a word he says.
"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."
Chris said the family is "getting along as best we can" and Claire added Sonia's son Jake is doing well despite the trauma.
"We're just a normal family, she was just a normal girl. You never dream that something like this would ever happen in your family," Claire said.
The Herald previously revealed how Locke is seen as a "cold-hearted" and "scheming" monster who is despised by fellow inmates.
A photograph, taken shortly after he strangled and suffocated his ex-girlfriend, shows how Sonia bravely fought for her life.