Dixons has pulled Rockstar’s Manhunt game from shelves after parents claimed that it inspired the murder of their 14 year old boy.
Rockstar are no strangers to controversy, and have had previous titles, mainly from the Grand Theft Auto series, banned or pulled from shops before.
Warren LeBlanc, 17 years old, pleaded guilty to the murder of 14 year old Stefan Pakeerah after luring him into a park in the Midlands and murdering him with a claw hammer and a knife.
An unpaid drug debt was given as the reason for the murder.
Manhunt is clearly marked as an 18 certificate game, and should not be sold or played by minors like LeBlanc. Those ratings are on the box for a reason, you know.
Giselle Pakeerah, Stefan’s mother said “I think that I heard some of Warren’s friends say that he was obsessed by this game. If he was obsessed by it, it could well be that boundaries for him became quite hazy. I can’t believe that this sort of material is allowed in a society where anarchy is not that far removed. It should not be available and it should not be available to young people.”
“I think that I heard”? Curiously, no-one has blamed the drugs involved for the murder as yet.
The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers’ Association, who provide age ratings on video games, issues a statement: “We reject any suggestion or association between the tragic events in the Midlands and the sale of the video game Manhunt.”
The continued: “The game in question is classified 18 by the British Board of Film Classification and therefore it should not be in the possession of a juvenile. We would also add that simply being in someone’s possession does not and should not lead to the conclusion that a game is responsible for these tragic events.”
In response to the claims, and to avoid possible copycat actions, Dixons will be removing the game from all 1,000 stores throughout their group.