Examiner.ie - July 30th 2004

Violent video game led to our son’s killing

THE parents of a boy brutally murdered by his older friend yesterday blamed a violent video game called Manhunt for their son’s death.Stefan Pakeerah, aged 14, was repeatedly battered with a claw hammer and stabbed to death after being lured to a local park.

His mother branded his 17-year-old killer, Warren Leblanc, “inherently evil” after he pleaded guilty to murder at Leicester Crown Court.

The court heard in graphic detail how the defendant had armed himself with two weapons and killed his victim “in cold blood”.

Moments later he confessed to the killing when found covered in blood by police officers.

Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, told the court that the defendant had planned to rob his younger friend to help repay a drugs debt. However, following the hearing, Stefan’s parents said Leblanc had mimicked a horrific game in which the players score points for violent killings.

His grieving mother, Giselle, said: “I think that I heard some of Warren’s friends say that he was obsessed by this game.

“To quote from the website that promotes it, it calls it a psychological experience, not a game, and it encourages brutal killing.

“If he was obsessed by it, it could well be that the boundaries for him became quite hazy,” she said. His father, Patrick, added outside court: “They were playing a game called Manhunt. The way Warren committed the murder this is how the game is set out, killing people using weapons like hammers and knives.

“There is some connection between the game and what he has done.”

In court, Mr Joyce said Leblanc, of Braunstone Frith, Leicester, had persuaded his victim to go to nearby Stoke Woods Park, known locally as “The Dumps”, to meet two girls. In a statement to police, an uncle who lived with Stefan at the time said Leblanc had seemed “not at ease” when he arrived at the victim’s house. He had also been carrying a suspicious-looking black bag.

The two teenagers left and arrived in the park at around 9.30am. Two hours later Le Blanc was spotted on his own by police.

When caught, after first running from the officers, he was found with blood stains on his body and clothes and carrying a blood-stained claw hammer, some cannabis and a mobile phone in the bag.

When asked by police where his injured friend was, Le Blanc said: “I don’t want to go there myself, but I can tell you where he is if you drive past.”

He also told the officers that his friend was “more than injured”.

When police discovered Stefan, he had been hit so hard with the hammer, he had suffered deep cuts to his head and neck. His head had been fractured in several places. He had multiple stab wounds, with the knife being plunged so deep that it had caused serious injuries to his kidney and liver.

Mr Joyce said the victim also had cuts to his hands and arms where he had tried to defend himself.

Judge Michael Stokes QC said Leblanc had carried out “a brutal, cold-blooded murder” and could expect a life sentence. Mrs Pakeerah said that she was disappointed after he adjourned the case until September 3 for pre-sentence reports, saying it prolonged her pain.

Leblanc showed no emotion when told he would serve life.

The game, Manhunt, produced by game company Rockstar, was banned in New Zealand in December and was given a restricted rating in Canada.

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