A murder trial has heard a single mum’s body was found in a hotel bedroom with a black and white top stuffed deep in her mouth.
35 year old Eric Locke of St John’s Park East in Clondalkin denies murdering his ex girlfriend Sonia Blount at the Plaza Hotel in Tallaght three years ago. The court heard the 31 year old's clothed body was found in room 346 on the 16th February 2014.
Garda Robert Whitty told the jury he and a colleague were asked to attend the room and said when he arrived he noticed ‘a do not disturb sign’ was hanging from the door handle.
He said he saw the body of a female lying on the floor beside the bed. She had a ligature mark on her neck. Garda Whitty noticed there were unused cable ties strewn around the floor and black duct tape was close to the body.
There was also an imitation firearm on the bed. A man’s white jacket was on the floor and a female’s black jacket was hanging on a room in the chair. The garda told the jury he went into the bathroom and saw blood stained tissues and a blood stained towel on the bath.
Another garda told the jury she believed a violent struggle had taken place in the room.
The State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy told the court Sonia Blount died from asphyxia due to compression of the neck and suffocation due to the gag. She said said the gag had been inserted with sufficient force to dislodge some of the victim’s front teeth and the wire along her teeth was broken.
The prosecuting barrister Remy Farrell said there was a suggestion Eric Locke may have dressed her after he killed her. Professor Cassidy said that would have been difficult after she died.She said there was evidence of recent sexual activity, but she said there was no way of knowing if it had been consensual.
CCTV footage shown to the jury shows the accused Eric Locke spent around five and half hours in the hotel and is seen depositing something outside the hotel at 5.40 in the morning before breaking into a run.
It’s the Prosecution’s case that Eric Locke lured his ex-girlfriend Sonia Blount to the Plaza Hotel by pretending to be someone else on Facebook. He admits strangling her but denies murder claiming he was suffering from a mental disorder at the time.