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Boy (17) is sentenced to life for killing 'good Samaritan' Cameron

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Cameron Blair was knifed in the neck at a student party

Cameron Blair was knifed in the neck at a student party

Cameron Blair was knifed in the neck at a student party

A teenage boy who murdered 20-year-old college student Cameron Blair by plunging a knife into his neck outside a house party in Cork has received a life sentence.

It will be reviewed in 2032.

The teenager, now 17, will be detained at Oberstown Children Detention Campus until he turns 18 next month, when he will be moved to an adult prison.

In a statement read outside court following yesterday's sentence hearing, the victim's family said it had 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," they said.

"The life sentence handed down will not bring our beloved Cam back, but will hopefully give some comfort if not now then over time.

Deliberate

Passing 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".

He said Cameron's life was taken in an act of extreme violence, which was clearly deliberate and unanticipated by him.

The defendant knew the student was "not a threat" before he "viciously murdered" him.

Referring to Cameron, the judge emphasised he was a decent and hard-working young man held in high regard.

He had demonstrated friendliness and decency in his dealings with others on the night.

His killer, who cannot be named because he is a minor, pleaded guilty last month to murdering Cameron on Bandon Road, Cork, last January 16.

The victim's parents, Kathy and Noel Blair, and younger brother Alan were supported in the courtroom by several members of the extended family.

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 their son's life and his guilty plea may appear to be inadequate for such a dreadful crime.

However, it reflected the sentencing laws and principles.

Cameron was a native of Ballinascarthy in west Cork and a second-year chemical engineering student at Cork Institute of Technology.

He died at Cork University Hospital on January 16 after being stabbed at a student party in a house in Cork city.

At a sentence hearing earlier this month, the court heard he had told his friend "Don't worry, lads, I don't want to be fighting" moments after the defendant stabbed him in his neck.

The student, who was acting as a "peacemaker", was not aware he had been stabbed.

Cameron had also acted as a "good Samaritan" on the night when he brought a drunk homeless man into the house because he was concerned about him.

In a letter of apology to the Blair family, the 17-year-old killer wrote that he was "deeply remorseful" for what he had done, saying: "Cameron was nothing but nice to me on the night and did nothing wrong to me.

"It was never ever my intention for any of this to happen."

Mr Justice McDermott noted that the teenager had the intention to kill or cause serious injury to Cameron and there was no evidence of self-defence.

The aggravating factors included the teenager was a guest at the party and for no identifiable reason he had armed himself with a kitchen knife.

He had run away without getting any assistance for Cameron and later disposed of the knife and a pair of gloves.

He also lied to gardai initially by trying to suggest he and Cameron had exchanged punches, said the judge.

Burden

Among the mitigating factors were the teenager's guilty plea, which saved the Blair family the enormous burden of sitting through a trial, his age and the sorrow he had expressed.

Mr Justice McDermott said he must serve at least 13 years.

Speaking outside court, Cameron's uncle, Aidan Donnelly, read out a statement on behalf of the family, saying: "It is just over three months since our son was murdered.

"Having pleaded guilty, we were told that due to the fact 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 this is something that needs to be examined and ask that appropriate authorities look into this."