Feeds

Retailers bans Manhunt after murder link claim

Only allowed to sell it to adults in any case

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

Updated UK consumer electronics retail chain Dixons and games retailer Game have pulled the computer game Manhunt from its shelves after the parents of a murdered schoolboy blamed the title for their son's death.

Stefan Pakeerah, 14, was stabbed and beaten to death in a Leicester park in February. Warren Leblanc, 17, of Braunstone Frith, Leicester this week pleaded guilty to the lethal attack.

Pakeerah's parents alleged that Leblanc's fascination in the game, in which points are scored for committing grisly killings, had influenced his actions.

The victims father dubbed Manhunt "a manual for murder".

Dixons and Game today began removing Manhunt from its store shelves. Under UK law Manhunt must not be sold to anyone under the age of 18. Retailer W H Smith told the BBC that it was considering whether to continue stocking the title. Virgin Megastores, however, will continue to do so. "While we take a level of responsibility, ultimately, censorship decisions are up to the consumer," a spokesman said.

Computer games that depict 'realistic' imagery must be certified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) before release. The BBFC today stood by its certification, which indicates that the game should only be sold to adults. UK retailers are bound by the law to ensure that games are only sold to buyers of an appropriate age.

Of course, nothing prevents an adult buying such a game on a juvenile's behalf. And some kids do get hold of pirate copies.

We've been here before. Computer games have been claimed to influence other adolescent murders, most notably the Columbine High School killings, which some observers blamed on an obsessive interest in Doom. More recently, Grand Theft Auto has been blamed for a road killing.

Influences are easy to claim, but direct causality is harder to prove, whether the alleged cause are violent computer games or equally violent movies. Two decades or more ago, it was Dungeons and Dragons that was felt to be at fault.

But for every child psychologist claiming violent imagery leads to violent actions, there's another who believes games and movies provide an outlet for aggression that might otherwise be directed toward other kids.

Certainly, the vast majority of game players, comic readers and movie viewers do not act out in the real world violent content they've consumed on a PC or DVD. ®

Related stories

Grand Theft Auto in the dock over US road killing
Eidos in clear over Columbine
George Dubya blames Net for Columbine massacre
Hollywood pushes violent movies, games on kids FTC
Net blamed for new Columbine High School threats

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.