THE 17-year old who murdered Cameron Blair by plunging a knife in his neck must serve a minimum of 13 years in prison and won’t have his life sentence reviewed until 2032.
As he handed down the sentence at the Central Criminal Court Mr Justice Paul McDermott said: ‘The deliberate recourse to knives by young men must be deterred and the public must be protected.’
The teen will be detained at Oberstown Children’s Detention Campus until he turns 18 next month when he will be moved to an adult prison.
Referring to Cameron, the judge emphasised that he was a decent and hard-working young man that was held in high regard. He had also demonstrated friendliness and decency in his dealings with others on the night, he said.
Cameron’s parents Kathy and Noel Blair and younger brother Alan were supported in the courtroom by several other extended family members.
Mr Justice McDermott addressed the Blair family a number of times, saying on one occasion that the defendant’s release from prison in the future may be of little comfort to them for the taking of Cameron’s life and his guilty plea may appear to be inadequate for such a dreadful crime. However, it reflected the underlying sentencing laws and principles, he explained.
Referring to the victim impact statements given by the Blair family, the judge said they were given with enormous dignity and restraint. He said that Cameron’s participation in life transcended this awful crime and he was a decent and hard-working young man who was held in high regard.
‘It is the loss of his valuable life and his social, sporting and working life that is central to this,’ he added.
‘His family are bereft in this appalling murder and their suffering will be life-long and nothing I do today will relieve that,’ he explained.
The defendant had extinguished Cameron’s life by viciously murdering him and what happened on the night was simply awful, he said.
The defendant’s earliest release date is January 24th, 2033 and this will depend on how he responds in custody and the progress he makes in terms of his alcohol issues and his aggression, said the judge.
He directed the preparation of detailed reports during his period of custody with the first report to be submitted in October this year and then one every three years up to the review in 2032.
Statement by Cameron’s father Noel:
‘AS you can imagine the murder of our beloved son Cameron and everything that has followed since has been a very harrowing time for us and all our family.
Today has been equally distressing but we welcome the conclusion of this aspect of the investigation into Cameron’s cowardly murder.
The life sentence handed down today will not bring our beloved Cam back but will hopefully give some comfort if not now, then over time.
It is just over three months since our son was murdered. Having pleaded guilty we were told that due to the fact that the accused was a juvenile he had to be sentenced prior to his 18th birthday resulting, it appears to us, in the case being expedited through the courts. This allowed little time for us to grieve as a family.
We believe that this is something that needs to be examined and ask that appropriate authorities look into this.
Cameron, we miss you terribly, you will never be forgotten, you will always be remembered.
In your short 20 years, you did a lot, we did a lot, and we thank you for the joy and love you brought into our lives.
Until we meet again, rest easy in peace Cam.’