- July 29th 2004

Manhunt Off Store Shelves in the UK


The parents of a 14 year old boy, brutally murdered by his friend, claim that the actions are a result of an obsession with the Manhunt videogame. The Dixons group, UK's biggest electronics stores, pulled the videogame off store shelves today after the victim’s parents attributed the murder to its subject matter.

A statement from the Dixons Group said: "In light of the tragic events reported in today's media we have taken the decision to withdraw the Manhunt game from sale at Dixons, Currys and PC World.

Warren Leblanc, armed himself with a claw hammer and a knife, battered and stabbed to death to his friend Stefan Pakeerah. Leblanc pled guilty and now faces a life in prison.

Mr. Pakeerah, Stefan's father, said: "The way Warren Leblanc committed the murder was similar to the game Manhunt, in the use of weapons such as hammers and knives.”

The ELSPA has issued a statement today in which they say:
We sympathize enormously with the family and parents of Stefan Pakeerah.

However, we reject any suggestion or association between the tragic events in the Midlands and the sale of the videogame Manhunt.

The game in question is classified 18 by the British Board of Film Classification and therefore 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.

Games are played by all ages of people, from 8 to 80, and all are subjected to strict regulation. There is no evidence to suggest a link with events carried out in everyday life, as many eminent experts have continually concluded.

We would emphasize the need for all parents to be aware of the guidelines and ratings which apply to all games. Whilst we cannot comment on behalf of the publisher of the game in question, the procedures that it adopted were entirely responsible and in line with legal and industry codes of practice.

In conclusion we would add that for the most recent records available, less than one per cent of games sold in the UK are rated 18 plus by the BBFC.
Developed by Rockstar North, the developers of the also controversial Grand Theft Auto series, Manhunt is a psychological horror game in which you must escape Carcer City guided only by “The Director”. In order to survive, you must make strategic choices as to which weapons to use, including plastic bags, bats, knives, and various guns. The game has sold fairly well across the PS2 and Xbox platforms and this is the first such incident where the game has been singled out for violent actions by a minor.

This will assuredly start up the debate of videogame violence once again, but the bigger question may be why was a 14 yr. old in possession of a clearly marked 18+ rated videogame? Manhunt is clearly not the first videogame to feature a knife and hammer as a weapon, and certainly won’t be the last. We’ll have more on this story as it develops.

Original link: Click Here