The family of murdered student Cameron Blair have said that violent knife crime "has to stop". "Whose family will be next to get the dreaded phone call?", Cameron's uncle Aidan Donnelly asked while reading a statement on behalf of the Blair family outside the Criminal Courts of Justice on Friday.
"As a parent you pray each night your child goes out that no harm will come to them and that they return home safely. We also hope and pray that they do not cross paths with people who arm themselves with knives and are violent," the statement read.
Mr Donnelly continued: "On the night Cameron was murdered three people contributed to the hostile atmosphere which ultimately led to the senseless taking of our boy's life. Thankfully, they have all now been dealt with. Every time we now hear about another innocent victim attacked or murdered with a knife it affects us immensely. Whose family will be next to get the dreaded phone call? This has to stop.
The statement followed the end of a case where a teenage boy who punched a girl and threatened others with a butter knife outside the house party where 20-year-old college student Cameron Blair was murdered was sentenced to two years detention and two years supervision in his community. Sentencing the now 16-year-old accused, who cannot be named because he is a minor, at the Central Criminal Court today, Mr Justice David Keane said the boy "deliberately armed" himself with a butter knife and "deliberately threatened" others at the party that night. "His threats were calculated and deliberate," he added.
Cameron 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, 2020 after being stabbed in the neck while attending a student party at a house in Cork city.
In April 2020, a teenage boy, then aged 17, who murdered Cameron by plunging a knife into his neck, received a life sentence that will be reviewed in 2032. The boy, who could not be named because he was a minor, pleaded guilty to murdering Cameron on Bandon Road in Co Cork on January 16th, 2020.
Scott O'Connor (19), of Churchfield Square, Churchfield, Cork who brandished a knife outside the house party was jailed for two years. He had pleaded guilty to committing violent disorder at Bandon Road in Cork on January 16. He has also pleaded guilty to producing an article capable of inflicting serious injury in the course of a dispute, to wit a knife, in a manner likely unlawfully to intimidate another person on the same occasion.
On Friday's verdict on the third accused, the family statement read: "We welcome Mr Justice Keane's verdict today and thank him for his diligence in this and other related cases. We also reiterate our thanks to Mr Justice Paul McDermott for his previous involvement in a related case.
"To all members of An Garda Siochana and the State legal team we thank you for your kindness, diligence and exceptional work in bringing all responsible to justice.
"Finally, we would like to thank all the neighbours, friends, neighbours, strangers and so forth who have helped us over the past 18 months. Your support has given us strength to keep going or in the words of our darling Cameron 'keep driving it on'. Cameron always had a positive attitude and although there is now an emptiness in our world that can never be filled, we will try to honour his memory by living the best life we can."