Two years in jail for man who admitted threatening Cameron Blair’s family

May 31st, 2021 11:40 AM

By Southern Star Team

Noel Barry has been jailed for two years, with a third year suspended, for threatening the family of murdered student Cameron Blair (photographed). (Photo: Gerard McCarthy)

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By Olivia Kelleher

A Bandon woman whose young son was murdered 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 (20), who was murdered in Cork city in 2020, said she and her family were at home with friends when they got a threatening phone call from Noel Barry of Cherry Tree Road in Cork city.

In a victim impact statement at Cork Circuit Criminal Court Mrs Blair detailed the threats made to her family in calls on September 4th 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,’ she said.

‘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.’

She added: ‘I often lie awake at night and vividly remember that call. It is impossible to unhear what Noel Barry said. How could you?’

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

Det 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.’

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

Det 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 had no work history.

Det Inspector Colohan said 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 week’s supply of prescription tablets on the night of the offence.

Det 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 Mr Blair, two of which were recorded.

The court was told that Noel Blair was told to ‘f**k off back to England’.

Mr Blair informed gardaí that the caller warned that his family ‘would never be safe’ and told him to get his ‘Loyalist friend’ so that they could ‘sort this out on the streets of Shankill Road.’

At last week’s sentencing hearing, Barry’s barrister Sinead Behan said that her client, who is now 46, 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.

Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said it was a case of ‘callous cruelty’ and 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.

A youth has been jailed in connection with Cameron Blair’s murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a review of his sentence due in 2032.

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