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Sunday 1 October 2023 Dublin: 18°C
Laura Hutton via
# noel barry
Man who threatened to kill family of murdered Cork student has been jailed
He was jailed for three years suspending the last year of the sentence.

A WOMAN WHOSE 20-year-old son was murdered last year has spoken of her devastation after she received vile calls from a man who made threats to kill her family.

Kathy Blair, mother of Cameron Blair who was murdered in Cork city in January 2020, said she and her family were at home with friends when they got a threatening phone call from Noel Barry (46) of Cherry Tree Road in Cork city.

In a victim impact statement at a sentencing hearing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Blair detailed the threats Barry made to her family in calls on 4 September 2020.

She said that her husband received a call on his mobile from Noel Barry a man they “had never met or spoken to”.

“On that awful night we had to listen to appalling threats being made against our family. The content of the call was deeply upsetting.

“We are all in a state of shock. I have never felt afraid in my own home but that night I was terrified. Even now I can’t be alone in the house at night. What Noel subjected us to was cruelty beyond belief.

“On the call he said we would need a fire extinguisher as he was going to destroy our son Alan. Alan heard this threat as the three of us were standing listening to the call in the kitchen.

“I thought I was going to collapse and felt physically sick thinking I could lose my remaining son. As a mother I felt like a failure for not being able to protect my child against such horror.

“I often lie awake at night and vividly remember that call. It is impossible to unhear what Noel Barry said. How could you?”

Barry previously pleaded guilty to threatening to kill or cause serious harm to named members of the Blair family in nuisance calls answered by his father Noel.

The calls occurred on the evening of 4 September 2020.

Detective Inspector Daniel Colohan said that just before 11pm on the night of the offence Noel Barry rang Noel Blair in a call that lasted just over 40 seconds.

He said “You better be standing beside your wife and other son with a fire extinguisher. They will be burned.”

Barry then went on to tell the family that a Loyalist should not threaten a Republican.

Detective Inspector Colohan said that following the offence Barry made completely false accusations against the Blair family which he subsequently retracted. He claimed the Blair family had threatened him.

The Garda said that Barry had 10 previous convictions for drugs, criminal damage and possession of knives and was without a work history.

Detective Inspector Colohan stressed that Barry was “self serving” in garda interviews and kept changing his story not taking any responsibility for his actions.

He eventually admitted that he had contacted the family whilst he was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs. Barry claimed to have taken a weeks supply of prescription tablets on the night of the offence.

Detective Inspector Colohan said Barry wiped his phone following the incident. At one point he claimed that somebody else may have made the calls on his phone.

At a previous court hearing it emerged that Barry made four phone calls to the family of Blair in September of last year, two of which were recorded.

The court was told that that threats were allegedly made to Noel Blair and that he was told to “f**k off back to England”.

Blair informed gardaí that the caller warned that his family “would never be safe”. He said that the caller also told him to get his “Loyalist friends” so that they could “sort this out on the streets of Shankill Road”.

The threatening charges were contrary to Section Five of the Non Fatal Offences against the Person Act.

At today’s sentencing hearing defence barrister, Sinead Behan, said that her client had a history of depression and a long standing drink problem. She said he had submitted a letter of apology to the Blair family and was deeply remorseful for his actions.

Judge Sean O’Donnabhain said it was a case of “callous cruelty”. He added that remorse was for Barry a “tide that comes and goes”.

He jailed him for three years suspending the last year of the sentence.

Meanwhile, the murder of Cameron Blair sent shockwaves through the community in Bandon Road last year after he was fatally stabbed at a house party in the city.

The CIT student died in Cork University Hospital (CUH) after he was stabbed in the neck at a house party in Bandon Road in Cork city on 16 January 2020.

Cameron was laid to rest in Kilbeg cemetery outside Bandon town.

A youth was jailed in connection with his murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a review of his sentence in 2032.

Olivia Kelleher
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