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Dublin: 16 °C Saturday 4 July, 2020
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Teenage boy receives life sentence, with review in 13 years, for murder of Cameron Blair

The prison term will be reviewed in 2032.

Cameron Blair
Cameron Blair
Image: Bandon Rugby/Facebook

A TEENAGE BOY who murdered 20-year-old college student Cameron Blair by plunging a knife into his neck outside a house party in Cork city has received a life sentence that will be reviewed in 2032.

The teenage boy, now aged 17, will be detained at Oberstown Children Detention Campus until he turns 18 when he will be moved to an adult prison.

Passing sentence at the Central Criminal Court today, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said that Cameron Blair’s life was taken in an act of extreme violence that was clearly deliberate and unanticipated by him.

Cameron had demonstrated friendliness and decency in his dealings with others on the night before he was “so viciously murdered” by the accused, he said.

Referring to Cameron, the judge emphasised that he was a decent and hard-working young man who was held in high regard. 

Mr Justice McDermott said the defendant must serve a minimum of 13 years with a review in November 2032. 

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, pleaded guilty last month to murdering Cameron Blair on Bandon Road in Co Cork on 16 January 2020.

Cameron was a native of Ballinascarthy in west Cork and a second-year chemical engineering student at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). He died at Cork University Hospital (CUH) on 16 January after being stabbed in the neck while attending a student party at a house in Cork city. 

At a sentence hearing earlier this month, the court heard that Cameron had told his friend: “Don’t worry lads, I don’t want to be fighting”, moments after the defendant stabbed him with the knife. 

The 20-year-old, who was acting as a “peacemaker” outside the house party in Cork city, was not aware that he had been stabbed.

The court was told that Cameron had “extended the hand of friendship” to his murderer earlier in the night when he suggested the teenager and his two friends be allowed come into the party. 

Cameron had told them they were “sound”, the hearing was told.

Cameron had also acted as a “good Samaritan” on the night when he brought a drunk homeless man into the house because he was concerned about him.

In a letter of apology to the Blair family, the 17-year-old boy wrote that he was “deeply remorseful” for what he had done saying:

Cameron was nothing but nice to me on the night and did nothing wrong to me. It was never ever my intention for any of this to happen.”

The court heard that the defendant and his two friends had developed a paranoia as to whether somebody else had a knife at the party. The 17-year-old had “tapped” the kitchen knife on the back of his leg a number of times before he lunged forward in a downward motion and stabbed the student in the neck. 

Cameron’s mother Kathy Blair previously read an emotional victim impact statement to the court saying that no parent expects to bury their child and called it “unnatural”. She said it was something she would never come to terms with. Mrs Blair said she received a call on the night of 16 January 16 to say that her son had been stabbed in the neck, a call that “has been described as every parent’s worse nightmare”. 

She added:

Cameron’s murder has shattered our lives. My heart aches everyday for the loss of my son. The loneliness can sometimes be overwhelming. Often when I am alone in the house I scream at the injustice of this. How could someone so cruelly take the life of our beautiful boy? Why has this happened to our family? We are not bad people.

“When I go into his bedroom I cry at the sight of his empty bed, the unfinished book on his locker, phone credit and a voucher on his table – Christmas presents that he never got to use,” she continued. 

“Since Cameron’s untimely and senseless death I am no longer living. I simply exist. I cannot think about the future, it is too painful. The price of immense love is unbearable grief when that person is taken from you. We will be paying that price for the rest of our lives,” she said.

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Alison O'Riordan

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