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Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (17) - Video game 'obsession' - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: February 27, 2004
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1987
Victim profile: Stefan Pakeerah, 14 (friend)
Method of murder: Hitting with a claw hammer
Location: Leicester, Gran Bretaņa
Status: Sentenced to life in prison (minimum 13 years) on September 3, 2004

Warren Leblanc (b. 1987- ), was the murderer and former friend of 14 year old Stefan Pakeerah in Leicester, England.

The murder took place in February 2004. It was said that he had killed Stefan by stabbing him with a claw hammer, a method of execution identical to that shown in the video game Manhunt.

Stefan's mother Giselle Pakeerah claimed that Leblanc had been 'obsessed' with the game, after Leblanc pleaded guilty in court. However, Leblanc was not found to be in possession of the game, although, despite it having an 18+ rating, a copy of the game was found in Stefan's room.

The police denied any such link between the game and the murder however, citing drug-related robbery as the motive. The presiding judge also placed sole responsibility with Leblanc in his summing up after sentencing him to a life sentence.


Game blamed for hammer murder

BBC News

Thursday, 29 July, 2004

The parents of a boy who was murdered with a claw hammer by a friend have blamed a violent video game which the teenage killer was "obsessed" with.

Warren Leblanc, 17, repeatedly stabbed 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah after luring him to a Leicester park to steal from him on 27 February.

He pleaded guilty to murder at Leicester Crown Court on Wednesday.

Stefan's mother described Leblanc, who confessed to police moments after the assault, as "inherently evil".

Video game 'obsession'

Stefan's mother, Giselle, a research nurse, had to leave court when the evidence in the case became too harrowing.

Following the hearing she said her son's killer had mimicked a game called Manhunt, developed by Edinburgh-based Rockstar North, in which the players score points for violent killings.

Manhunt was banned six months ago in New Zealand by censorship officials.

Mrs Pakeerah said: "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."

Mrs Pakeerah, 36, called for violent video games to be banned.

Covered in blood

She said: "I can't believe that this sort of material is allowed in a society where anarchy is not that far removed.

"It should not be available and it should not be available to young people."

Leblanc, of Braunstone Frith, Leicester, persuaded his victim to go to nearby Stoke Woods Park, known locally as The Dumps - to meet two girls.

The court heard how he armed himself with a knife and claw hammer to carry out the attack.

He confessed to the killing moments later when he was found covered in blood by two police officers.

Outside court Stefan's father, Patrick, said: "They were playing a game called Manhunt.

"The way Warren committed the murder 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."

Game ban

Echoing his former partner, the civil servant said: "I don't play these games but if they are influencing kids to go out and kill people then you don't want them on the shelves."

When police discovered Stefan, they found he had sustained horrific and fatal injuries.

The boy 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.

A spokesman for the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers' Association said: "We sympathise enormously with the family and parents of Stefan Pakeerah.

"However, we reject any suggestion or association between the tragic events and the sale of the video game 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.

"Simply being in someone's possession does not and should not lead to the conclusion that a game is responsible for these tragic events."

Judge Michael Stokes QC said Leblanc had carried out "a brutal, cold-blooded murder" and could expect a life sentence.


Police reject game link to murder

BBC News

Thursday, 5 August, 2004

Detectives investigating the murder of a 14-year-old boy in a Leicester park have rejected any link with a violent computer game.

Stefan Pakeerah was beaten and stabbed to death by Warren Leblanc, 17, but the motive, say police, was robbery.

Leicestershire police have confirmed a copy of the game was found, but in Stefan's' bedroom and not with Leblanc.

Stefan's parents blamed the game, which was withdrawn by some high street retailers, following the court case.

A Leicestershire constabulary spokesperson said: "Police investigations did not uncover any connections to the computer game.

"The motive for the incident was robbery."

They added: "We can confirm the game was not found in Warren Leblanc's room, it was found in Stefan Pakeerah's room."

In the wake of Leblanc's guilty plea, several stores withdrew Manhunt from sale.

But sales at HMV, which has continued to sell the game, have reportedly risen.

Violent films

Stefan's mother, Giselle, who called for violent computer games to be banned, claimed her son only had the game because it had been lent to him by Leblanc.

"Warren Leblanc gave Stefan the game just two days before he killed him," she said.

"Leblanc is responsible for what Leblanc did and what he did was horrible."

Mrs Pakeerah added: "He liked violent films and games and particularly liked Manhunt.

"There are obvious similarities between the game and how Stefan died."

'Misleading reporting'

For its part, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers' Association (Elspa), the industry body for the video game industry, has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett about the media coverage of the case.

"We have been very concerned recently about the misleading and disingenuous reporting about the effects of playing interactive games software," said Elspa.

"As you will know, despite many research projects into the effects of screen violence, some of which have been undertaken by eminent academics in their field, no link with violent behaviour has been found."

Elspa said its members took their responsibilities extremely seriously and that they conformed with both the letter and spirit of the law and the strict Codes of Practice.


Teenage murderer gets life term

BBC News

Friday, 3 September, 2004

A youth who stabbed and battered a boy of 14 to death has been jailed for life.

Warren Leblanc, 17, admitted the murder of Stefan Pakeerah in a Leicester park in February.

On Friday, Judge Michael Stokes at Leicester Crown Court said Leblanc should serve a minimum of 13 years.

Stefan's parents believed Leblanc was obsessed with a violent computer game called Manhunt, but police insisted the motive was robbery.

Leblanc lured his younger victim to an area known as The Dumps in Stokes Wood Park before attacking him, on 26 February.

The victim was left with at least 50 separate injuries to his body caused by his attacker, the court was told.

Stefan's mother, Giselle, left court as the details of her son's murder were read out.

Roderick Price QC, defending, said Leblanc had been motivated by fear of a gang to whom he owed a small amount of money.

He said at first the 17-year-old had only intended to overpower the young boy and use the hammer to stun him.

Judge Stokes, sentencing Leblanc, said: "You have committed a truly appalling crime.

"You have taken the life of a 14-year-old boy in a most brutal fashion.

"I do not pretend to know or understand what prompted you to behave as you did.

"One thing is clear; you and you alone were responsible for this prolonged, vicious and murderous attack on someone who thought of you as a friend."


14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah, the victim.



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