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

The trial of a Clondalkin man charged with the murder of a Tallaght mother-of-one in the Plaza Hotel in 2014 enters its seventh 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 a consultant psychiatrist who told the court he believed Mr Locke intended to tie Ms Blount to a chair to force her to listen to him.

Dr Sean O’Domhnaill told the trial he believed Mr Locke panicked when Ms Blount panicked after seeing the duct tape and cable ties he had brought to the room.

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

The consultant psychiatrist went on to say, in his opinion, Mr Locke displays some, but not all, the features of autism spectrum disorder as well as hyperkinetic disorder, or ADHD, and he also suffers from severe generalised anxiety disorder.

These conditions, according to Dr O’Domhnaill, left the accused incapable of being fully responsible for his actions, and, due to his mental state, he would be described as having diminished responsibility at the time of Ms Blount’s death.

The trial also heard how Mr Locke was born with hypospadias, which is a congenital condition in men in which the operating of the urethra is on the underside of the penis.

This led Mr Locke, according to Dr O’Domhnaill, to have a fear of being different to others and to feel like less of man.

Under cross-examination by the prosecution, Dr O’Domhnaill confirmed he was being paid privately by the family of Mr Locke, but said he was not a ‘hired gun’.

Dr O’Domhnaill also said that he accepted Mr Locke had offered a clear account to Gardai of the scrapes he received when he strangled Ms Blount, which the doctor said suggested the accused had a clearer recollection of what had happened, rather than an out of body experience.

The prosecution will continue to cross-examine Dr O’Domhnaill today where the trial continues before a jury of eight men and four women.  

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