Lured to her death by text: Final moments of pregnant woman kicked to death by ex-boyfriend who also killed his unborn baby
Tony McLernon, 24, killed Eystna Blunnie, 20, in Harlow, Essex, last yearLured her to address with text message saying 'I've got a surprise for you'Savage beating in the street killed Miss Blunnie and their unborn childTried to blame attack on two men saying he had been unable to help herJury at Chelmsford Crown Court took just two hours to find him guiltyCCTV footage shows Miss Blunnie en route to meet her killer
family was shattered by the death of a loving daughter, Eystna, and her
unborn child, Rose.
'The worst part was to find out that their deaths were such a brutal murder.
'However today justice has prevailed for our daughter and granddaughter with the conviction of their killer.'
Violent: DCI Lucy Robinson described Tony McLernon as a 'dangerous and violent man' after he was found guilty of murder
Speaking outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Lucy Robinson said: 'Tony McLernon is a dangerous, violent man.
Final moments: McLernon will be sentenced today for the murder of Miss Blunnie, seen in CCTV footage on the night of her death
'He has subjected numerous ex-girlfriends to constant fear of being
assaulted, and Eystna paid the ultimate price during his final violent
'What he has taken away from the Blunnie family can never be replaced,
but I hope he never has the opportunity to put another family through
the pain they continue to suffer.'
McLernon, of North Grove,
Harlow, had earlier told the court how he had been drinking more than
20 litres of cider and Lambrini a day and was addicted to the computer
game Guitar Hero at the time of the attack.
He described how he would rarely leave his bedroom, instead spending hours on end playing the Xbox game.
The court heard how the couple got
engaged in 2011 after meeting on Facebook but their relationship
deteriorated and they split up early in 2012.
In the weeks leading up to the killing
he had told friends and family that Miss Blunnie was trying to ruin his
new relationship, telling one he expected to go to prison for what he
planned to do.
Giving evidence, McLernon said he had been 'over the moon' about the
impending birth adding that, in the days leading up to Miss Blunnie’s
death, they had been getting on well.
He said that his drinking and gaming habits put strain on his relationship with Miss Blunnie.
Unemployed McLernon told the court that his drinking began at the age of 16.
Investigation: Police outside the home of Tony McLernon last year
Distraught: People lay flowers on the side of a main road in Harlow near to where Eystna Blunnie and her unborn baby were brutally beaten to death
Grief: Two friends console each other beside tributes to the college student who was due to give birth
several years he had met friends in a park near his Harlow home and
would drink up to 12 pints of lager most nights, he said.
As his alcoholism, funded by Jobseeker’s Allowance, worsened, he sought out cheaper and stronger drinks.
He said: 'A group of us would meet by a bench and drink. I would normally have about 12 pints of lager.
'But in 2012 my drinking changed significantly.
would buy two or three litre bottles of strong cider from the
supermarket and mix it with Lambrini to make a drink with 13 per cent
'We called it rocket fuel. /06/28/article-2165967-13D4AEC6000005DC-708_634x558.jpg” width=”634″ height=”558″ alt=”Tragic: Friends of Eystna Blunnie, who was found dying on the side of a road in Harlow, lay floral tributes to the pregnant college student and her unborn child” class=”blkBorder” />
Tragic: More friends of Eystna Blunnie, lay floral tributes at the scene. They have also written messages of condolence on Facebook
Shocking: A mourner reads some of the touching messages left at the spot where Miss Blunnie was found
He added that he had not been able to tell anybody about what happened that night because 'it made me feel sick'.
CCTV footage captured a heavily-pregnant Eystna Blunnie, a catering student and barmaid, walking through the Harlow estate to meet McLernon talking on her mobile phone.
She was due to give birth to a girl within days when she died.
She told McLernon she was pregnant with his child in October 2011 but they broke up the following year.
He said that he had been 'over the moon' about the impending birth and that the pair had been getting on well.
Asked if the text message was part of a
scheme to tempt her to meet him, he said 'absolutely not' adding the
surprise was that he had brought his dog, Alan, to see her.
McLernon, who said he had suffered
from depression and was prone to self-harm, denied claims he had
physically abused her and previous partners.