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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Censors ban 'brutal' video game
Screenshot of Manhunt
The original Manhunt game was blamed for a teenager's death
British censors have banned a violent video game from the UK for the first time in a decade.

The video game Manhunt 2 was rejected for its "unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying", the British Board of Film Classification said.

It means the Manhunt sequel cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK.

The parents of a Leicester schoolboy who blamed the original game for the murder of their 14-year-old son said they were "absolutely elated".

There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed
BBFC director David Cooke

The original Manhunt game was given an 18 classification in 2003.

Manhunt 2, for PS2 and Nintendo Wii consoles, is made by Rockstar Games.

The company has six weeks to submit an appeal.

The last game to be refused classification was Carmageddon in 1997. That decision was overturned on appeal.

David Cooke, director of the BBFC, said: "Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone.

"There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game."

'Morally irresponsible'

The original Manhunt game caused huge controversy and was blamed for the murder of Stefan Pakeerah.

The boy was stabbed and beaten to death in Leicester in February 2004.

Stefan Pakeerah
Stefan Pakeerah was murdered in 2004

His parents believe the killer, Warren LeBlanc, 17, was inspired by the game.

Stefan's mother, Giselle Pakeerah, had condemned the sequel, branding the gaming industry "morally irresponsible".

"We have been campaigning against these games for a long time and the BBFC made the right decision," she said.

Police said robbery was the motive behind the attack on Stefan in Stokes Wood Park on 26 February 2004 - and not the video game blamed by Stefan's parents.

Manhunt's maker Rockstar North has always insisted its games are geared towards mature audiences and are marketed responsibly.

Leicester MP Keith Vaz, who campaigned with the Pakeerahs against the original version of Manhunt, praised the decision to ban Manhunt 2.

He said: "This is an excellent decision by the British Board of Film Classification, showing that game publishers cannot expect to get interactive games where players take the part of killers engaged in 'casual sadism' and murder."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scenes from the Manhunt 2 games



SEE ALSO
PM under pressure on video games
25 Jan 06 |  Leicestershire
Video game campaign is 'working'
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'Manhunt' game sued over murder
24 Dec 04 |  Leicestershire
PM backs violent game inquiry
15 Sep 04 |  Leicestershire
Murder parents criticise sentence
03 Sep 04 |  Leicestershire

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