UK Judge: Teen Who Robbed Bank Acting Like He Was in a ‘Real-Life Action Video Game’

No doubt the Daily Mail (who loves publishing stories about the "evil influence" of video games on the UK's youth) is happy to report on what a judge had to say about a 15-year-old boy's bank raid at a Barclays bank in Liverpool, on Friday.

The teenager rushed into a branch of Barclays and pointed a fake handgun at cashiers demanding cash. He reportedly yelled "I’m not f****** messing around – I’ve just got out of prison after five years," before fleeing with an estimated £2200. Police later apprehended the boy. This week district judge Ian Lomax said that the teen may have been influenced by something he had "been watching or playing."

"It’s a bizarre, surreal case of a young man almost acting like a real-life action video game – nevertheless it was a robbery," the judge said, adding that the case was very unusual because the teen was a "model pupil" who had not been in trouble with the police before.

The boy pled guilty to two counts of robbery and one count of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. He granted the teenager conditional bail until he is sentenced on October 15.

The Daily Mail talks a lot about video games in the article but there's no indication that the unnamed teen played Grand Theft Auto V or any other game to "be inspired by." That fact doesn't matter to this publication, which does its best to cite research that doesn't exist about violent video games and to quote a supposed expert. Nicolas Robinson, associate professor in politics and video games research at the University of Leeds, told the Daily Telegraph that, despite the ratings on games like GTA V, kids are still getting their hands on them:

"You do have to be 18 to buy Grand Theft Auto but do these games end up in the hands of kids who shouldn’t be playing them? The answer to that is absolutely yes. Kids should be protected from certain content. I believe Grand Theft Auto is a very sophisticated satirical piece of work – and most kids under 18 just won’t get the satire. And if you don’t get the satire, it’s actually much more problematic than if you do."

We'll have more on this story as it develops.

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