The game that trained a killer

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iol scitech june 4 call of duty REUTERS File photo: People watch a demonstration of Call Of Duty at the Activision exhibit at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in Los Angeles.

London - The videogame Call Of Duty has been linked to a series of high-profile murders in recent years.

In it, players adopt the role of a soldier killing enemies using realistically modelled machine guns, pistols and grenades.

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik boasted that he “trained” for up to 16 hours a day on the game before his killing spree in July 2011.

He bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight, then murdered 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya.

At his trial, he said he practiced shooting using a “holographic aiming device” on Call Of Duty. He added: “It’s built up in such a way that you could have given it to your grandmother and she would have been a super marksman.”

Military veteran Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in the US capital last September, was also said to play videogames, including Call Of Duty, for up to 16 hours a day.

French terrorist Mohammed Merah played the game in the days before killing three soldiers and four civilians, including a rabbi and three children, in Toulouse in March 2012.

Adam Lanza, who murdered 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut in the US in 2012 before killing himself, was also said to be obsessed with violent video games.

However, Dr Nick Robinson, a videogame researcher at the University of Leeds, urged caution about making a connection between war games and suicide.

Responding to coroner John Pollard’s comments, he said: “There is no evidence of a causal link between the two. I think it is irresponsible of the coroner to blame the game.” - Daily Mail

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