Trial of Clondalkin man accused of murdering Tallaght mother enters day nine

Trial of Clondalkin man accused of murdering Tallaght mother enters day nine

The trial of a Clondalkin man charged with the murder of a Tallaght mother-of-one in the Plaza Hotel in 2014 enters its ninth day today at the Central Criminal Court.

Eric Locke (35) of St John’s Park East in Clondalkin admitted he caused the death of Sonia Blount (31) in the hotel room on February 16, 2014 but has denied he murdered her.

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Yesterday the trial heard from forensic psychiatrist Dr Richard Bunn who was giving evidence on behalf of Mr Locke.

Dr Bunn, who interviewed Mr Locke at Cloverhill Prison in April 2017, said the accused told him that he wanted Ms Blount to “listen to his pain” when he arranged to meet her in the Plaza Hotel.

He said Mr Locke told him he set up a fake Facebook page under the name ‘Shane Cully’ because, unlike him, he was not “inadequate” or “inferior”.

Eric Locke went on tell the doctor that he felt Ms Blount “understood him”, but once the relationship had ended he felt “consumed with pain”.

Mr Locke told the doctor how he had taken comfort in planning his own suicide, while he felt Ms Blount was “oblivious to his pain” after she cut off all communication with him.

In assessing Mr Locke, Dr Bunn said he did not accept the accused was insane at the time of the killing, while he said there was no evidence of a psychotic illness.

On Monday, Dr Sean O’Domhnaill said he believed Mr Locke was mentally unwell and it was his belief that the accused had a persuasive development disorder.

In relation to the disorder, Dr Bunn said a “constellation of symptoms” had led him to a finding of diminished responsibility due to Mr Locke’s persuasive development disorder.

He added that Mr Locke’s borderline personality traits, ADHD and because he was clearly suicidal also led him to a finding of diminished responsibility.

Under cross examination from the prosecution, Dr Bunn accepted the fact there had been differences in Mr Locke’s accounts of what had happened.

These differences included Mr Locke telling Gardai he wanted to frighten Ms Blount, while he told Dr Bunn he wanted to talk to her.

The doctor also accepted that if the account of what happened told to him was untrue it would have “significant implications” for his findings.

Dr Bunn went on to tell the trial that other defence psychiatrists had seen Mr Locke before him, and he had relied on Dr Sean O’Domhnail’s report, which included a diagnosis of persuasive development disorder.

Dr Bunn agreed that if this diagnosis was incorrect it would impact on his report.

Today the trial will hear from psychiatrist Dr Francis Kelly who will be giving evidence on behalf of the prosecution.