Anyone here ever heard of Stefan Pakeerah? Yes? No? Well, for those that don’t know of him, he’s the 14 year old boy who got murdered in Leicester back in 2004. At the time the parents blamed it on the video game Manhunt.
They say that the killer (a 17 year old drug addict called Warren Leblanc) was obsessed with the game and was acting out a moment from the game when he killed Stefan. As I’m sure you can imagine the media leapt on that and the story was spread worldwide. As a result Manhunt was removed from the shelves of two stores in the UK. Good response yeah?
Well, no actually. You see, there’s a little more to this story than meets the eye. Something the media didn’t report on is that the murderer had never actually owned the game, nor had he played it. The victim however did own the game, lovingly bought for him by his parents despite the fact he was four years too young to legally play it. Seeing this, his 17 year old friend decided to steal the game from him and ended up killing him for it, and other items he stole to pay off a debt.
It sounds to me like Stefan’s parents are transferring their own guilt (for buying one object of the robbery for their son) onto the game.
Isn’t this old news I can almost hear you asking. Well it was, but a couple of days ago it became relevant again. Manhunt 2 has just been banned in the UK by the BBFC and Stefan’s mother has once again taken to her soapbox to scream at the top of her lungs about how evil this game is.
As it hasn’t been released in this country yet we can safely assume that she hasn’t played it, so she probably knows nothing about it. She’s still blaming her son’s death on a game that ultimately had nothing to do with it, and has been running a campaign to ban any video game that contains anything violent.
Ms Pakeerah has my condolences for her loss. It’s an awful thing for anyone to lose someone they love, especially their own child. But I have to ask one question of her. Stefan was a gamer. Has she considered how he’d feel about her actions since his death? Maybe it’s time for her to put the vendetta behind her and finally grieve for her son.