Never one to let the facts get in the way of putting the willies up its arthritic audience, The Daily Mail’s timeless front-page headline from August, 2004 still causes pale faces at ELSPA – as does the next day’s crusading follow-up of ‘Ban These Evil Games’.
The ‘story’ referred to the tragic case of 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah, who was brutally murdered by 17-year-old Warren LeBlanc. The newspaper claimed Leblanc was obsessed with Rockstar’s Manhunt – but the boy’s murder hearing soon uncovered that it was actually Pakeerah who loved the game.
Police detectives investigating the case categorically dismissed any link between the game and Pakeerah’s killing – placing LeBlanc’s motive as robbery. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Fleet Street mentioning it as a footnote in every single ‘gory game’ piece since.
To read the next entry in our list of thebiggest controversies in the history of gaming, click here.