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'Since his death I am no longer living. I simply exist': Family of Cameron Blair tell court of impact of his death

A teenage boy has received a life sentence for his murder, a sentence which will be reviewed in 2032.

A TEENAGE BOY was given a life sentence today – with review in 13 years – for the murder of Cameron Blair, a second-year chemical engineering student at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).

Cameron 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. 

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.

In court, Cameron’s family read victim impact statements about their beloved son and brother.

Here is what they said.

Kathy Blair, mother of Cameron Blair

“I am Kathy Blair. I am Cameron’s mother. I am a mother of two boys. They are the love of my life. I would walk through fire for them. No parent expects to bury their child. It is unnatural. It is something I will never come to terms with.

“Cameron loved life. He loved his family and friends. He loved going out and he loved playing rugby. He was fun to be around. He had great plans for his future and I know he would have gone on to do great things, such was his personality. Positivity and kindness came naturally to him. He was a peacemaker.

“The 16th day of January started off as a normal day in our house. Alan was going to school and I was going to work. Cameron had no college that day so he was going to work with Noel. I didn’t know that today would be his last, and that before the day ended, our life would be totally derailed.

“That night my mobile rang. It was a number I didn’t recognise. It was the call that has been described as every parent’s worse nightmare.

“I was told that Cameron had been stabbed in the neck and we needed to get to Cork University Hospital (CUH) as soon as possible. We were offered a garda escort. The journey to the hospital was a blur.

“On arrival, I remember being ushered through A&E and frantically wondering what curtain Cameron was behind. Then we seemed to be approaching a quieter area and I saw the family room ahead. I did not want to go in as I knew then we were too late. Cam was dead.

“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.

Everywhere I look there are reminders of Cameron. A fence he painted in the garden, an ornament he brought back from a school trip, a mug he gave me for Mother’s Day. The memories of a life now lost. 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.

“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. I get by a day at a time, sometimes an hour at a time. My mother is 86. She cries everyday at the loss of her grandson. It has devastated her.

“My brother Eamonn is Cameron’s godfather. He has Down Syndrome. Himself and Cameron were great buddies. Last year, Cameron brought him to a match in the Aviva Stadium. Eamonn described it as the best day ever! He misses Cameron so much. He is having specialised counselling to help him deal with it. He said that the day Cameron died, a part of him died too.

“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.”

Noel Blair, father of Cameron Blair

“I last saw Cameron on the Thursday afternoon before he headed up to Cork to meet his friends. He was in a great mood and looking forward to going out. He shouted goodbye as he left. Little did I know that the next time he would come home he would be in a coffin.

“Later that night, I saw my son again. This time he was a lifeless body on a hospital trolley. The sight of my son’s dead body will haunt me until my dying day. The pain on my wife’s face and my son Alan’s face will torment me forever.

“Cameron was adored by us. The emptiness that is now in our lives is horrendous. His name will light up on my phone no more. His place at the table is vacant. I will never see his smile again. My darling son is gone forever.

“The ripple effect of Cameron’s murder has been felt far and wide. Cameron’s friends who witnessed the brutal crime that took the life of their friend, they have traumatic images that will remain etched in their minds. They too are victims, young people left with cruel memories of that fateful night.

“Everyday I drive past the rugby pitch, the full weight of what you have taken from us hits me hard and a wave of profound sadness comes over me. Years of memories flood into my brain as I recall all the Saturday mornings bringing the boys to training. The matches, some won, some lost but everyone in good spirits afterwards when we got to the shop. It breaks my heart to think that I’ll never see Cameron play there again.

“The death of your child is described as the ultimate grief. Unfortunately, I now know this to be true.”

Alan Blair, younger brother of Cameron Blair

“I am 17, three years younger than Cameron. I always looked up to Cam when we were growing up. He was a great brother. He always had my back.

“When Cameron was about 11 years old he made out a wish list of things he wanted to do when he was older. On the list were the usual things most kids dreams of… learn to drive, go skydiving, get a black belt in karate, build a tree house. The list was long, some things were ticked off and some not yet. One of the items on the list was – ‘Live to be 100′. It makes me so sad to think that Cameron was only 20 years old when he was so cruelly taken from our world.

“When I go to my brother’s grave I stare in disbelief at his name on the plaque. How can Cameron be dead. It doesn’t seem real. He had so much to live for. I had so much I wanted to ask him and get his advice on.

“Our long conversations late into the night are gone forever. My life will never be the same without him.

“You have robbed my brother from my life. Denied him all those things he aspired to do. Our family of four has now become three but the void is so much more.”

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About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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