By Alison O’Riordan
Murdered college student Cameron Blair told his friend: “Don’t worry lad, I don’t want to be fighting” moments after a teenager had plunged a knife into his neck, the Central Criminal Court heard today. The 20-year-old, who was acting as a “peacemaker” outside a house party in Cork city, was not aware that he had been stabbed.
The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, appeared at the court today for his sentence hearing, after having pleaded guilty last month to murdering Mr Blair on Bandon Road in Cork on January 16, 2020.
Mr Blair 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 January 16 after being stabbed in the neck while attending a student party at a house in Cork city.
At the defendant's sentencing hearing today, three victim impact statements were read to the court by Mr Blair's mother, father and younger brother.
In an emotional victim impact statement, the deceased's mother Kathy Blair said that no parent expects to bury their child and called it “unnatural”. She said it was something she would never come to terms with.
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”.
The victim’s father, Noel Blair, said the ripple effect of his son's murder had been felt far and wide. “The death of your child is described as the ultimate grief. Unfortunately, I now know this to be true,” he said.
The deceased's younger brother, Alan Blair, also read a statement saying: “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 to ask him and get his advice on”.
The court also heard from Detective Garda Martin Canny of Togher Garda Station in Cork, who told counsel for the State Anne Rowland SC that Mr Blair possessed leadership qualities and was thought of in very high esteem. He was also a very well-rounded and solid young man with an infectious personality, who drew people into him and was always smiling, said Det Gda Canny.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott remanded the defendant in custody to Oberstown Children Detention Centre until April 20, when he will be sentenced.