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Arrests expected over house party killing of student Cameron (20)

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Tragic Cork student Cameron Blair was a keen rugby player

Tragic Cork student Cameron Blair was a keen rugby player

Tragic Cork student Cameron Blair was a keen rugby player

Arrests are imminent in the investigation into the killing of student Cameron Blair in Cork last week, the Herald understands.

Gardai have interviewed three youths who had gained entry to a house party despite being uninvited, as well as people who were at the party, and are now cross-referencing details from those interviews.

A number of photos taken at the student party on the Bandon Road last Thursday are also being examined.

Peacemaker

Investigators believe Mr Blair (20), a second-year engineering student at Cork Institute of Technology, from Ballinascarthy, west Cork, died after he was slashed in the neck with a blade after three people who had been told to leave the party arrived back at about 9.20pm.

A boxcutter-type blade was found near the scene and is undergoing analysis to determine if it might have been used in the attack.

The three youths who allegedly gatecrashed the party are not students at Cork Institute of Technology and were not friends of the students at the party.

Sources said a row broke out inside the house after they arrived and were told to leave, but they returned shortly afterwards and a second row broke out.

They said Mr Blair, a highly popular student, was attempting to act as a peacemaker and defuse the tensions when he was slashed in the neck.

He then stumbled out into the street before collapsing and his friends raised the alarm.

Paramedics battled to save him and he was taken by ambulance to Cork University Hospital, where he died a short time later.

A post-mortem examination took place at the hospital on Friday afternoon.

One of the three young men who had fled the scene on Bandon Road was spotted by gardai a number of streets away from the party as they were responding to the frantic 999 calls.

A second man agreed to a voluntary interview with investigators the following day and the third youth also spoke with officers.

It is understood cautioned statements were taken from all three youths. However, a decision was taken to hold off on making arrests until gardai are confident of charging a suspect.

"Investigators will be going through all the interviews and evidence because they want to be as sure as they can be about what the sequence of events was and what witnesses are saying before they move on a suspect," one source said.

CCTV and witness reports are proving crucial to the investigation.

Ballinascarthy is 40km from the scene of the killing, and neighbours and friends in the local community have been rallying around the Blair family as they try to cope with the shock of their loss.

Sympathies

Mr Blair attended Bandon Grammar School before completing his Leaving Certificate at the nearby Hamilton High School.

Cork Institute of Technology president Barry O'Connor said the entire CIT community is in shock at Mr Blair's death. He extended "heartfelt sympathies" to his family and friends.

Mr Blair was a keen rugby player and played for Bandon Rugby Club.

Arrangements for his funeral are expected to be made this week.

Gardai have appealed for any witnesses or anyone who may have phone or camera footage to contact Togher Garda Station on 021 4947120, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111 or any garda station.