Saturday 25 November 2017

Mum told pal that murder suspect was 'whackjob from work', court hears

Sonia Blount had been in a brief relationship with Eric Locke
Sonia Blount had been in a brief relationship with Eric Locke
Eric Locke

A young woman told her best friend her ex-boyfriend was a "whackjob" and she was worried as he would not leave her alone, a jury has heard.

Sonia Blount always wanted to help people but her friend Susan Kelly told a jury that Eric Locke was "not someone you help, you just walk away".

There were also rumours at the pair's workplace that Mr Locke (35) was stalking her and while she told him she was not aware of the rumours she said he kept looking at her and it was "freaking her out".

The Central Criminal Court also heard Mr Locke asked if a friend could hack her Facebook and email accounts as he feared Ms Blount was "ripping him off behind his back".

Mr Locke has admitted he caused the death of Ms Blount (31) at The Plaza Hotel in Tallaght on February 16, 2014 but has denied her murder.

He had been in a brief relationship with her but had not taken their break-up well.

The prosecution case is that the Dubliner assumed a false identity online in order to lure Ms Blount to a hotel bedroom, where he strangled her to death.

The jury has been told it will be asked to focus on the mental state of the accused at the time.

Childhood friend Susan Kelly said Ms Blount went on a couple of dates with Mr Locke in December 2013 but it "wasn't a big serious relationship".


On January 11, 2014, Ms Kelly had a number of missed calls from Ms Blount and when she rang her back she said she was no longer seeing Mr Locke as he had become abusive.

She said Ms Blount told her he was "very full on".

In the weeks afterwards, Ms Kelly said her friend seemed preoccupied, telling her Mr Locke would not leave her alone and she was "getting worried about the situation".

A tearful Ms Kelly said mum-of-one Ms Blount was due to go out with her on the evening before she died but cancelled saying she was tired.

Ms Kelly said she didn't believe her as "Sonia would never let me down". Instead she believed Ms Blount was going to meet a man and told her she hoped it was not Mr Locke.

She said Ms Blount "always wanted to help" people but she told her Mr Locke was "not someone you help, someone you just walk away from".

Ms Blount told Ms Kelly she was not meeting Mr Locke, "no, that would be a nightmare, not that whackjob from work".

Earlier, the jury heard that on the night she died Ms Blount had arranged to meet a stranger in a hotel for a one-night stand.

Text messages sent to the fictitious "Shane Cully" indicated she was "sick with nerves" about the liaison because she had never done it before. Ms Blount had spent the previous days sexting with Mr Cully, who in reality was Mr Locke.

Garda Mark Shortt led the jury through the Facebook messages, which started as banter but became quite intimate and of a private nature.

The fake Mr Cully sent her explicit pictures and told her the pair would be "f**k buddies".


The jury also heard further evidence of texts between Mr Locke and Ms Blount.

On February 5, 2014, he had accused her of blocking him on Facebook and blanking him at work, saying "why can't you even look at me, it just hurts. I'm afraid we're not even going to be friends".

Ms Blount denied this, though in a later text she revealed she was "afraid talking to you will give you the wrong impression". The next day, he texted saying he had heard a rumour in work he was stalking her. He said there was "no truth" to it and it was a "horrible thing to say".

Ms Blount texted back saying she had not heard the rumours, though she added: "You keeping looking over at me and it's freaking me out".

The pair continued to communicate until February 8, 2014 when the texts stopped.

Mr Locke subsequently texted his sister Kim, asking if she would ask a mutual friend if he could hack Ms Blount's Facebook page and email account as he had heard she was "ripping him off behind his back".

He said he "needed to know" so he could "stay away from her". The court heard that Kim Locke advised her brother to stay away from Ms Blount and he "deserved much better".

In later texts, his sister told him Ms Blount's accounts could not be hacked.

The trial continues.

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