Boy detained for slashing friend's neck over 'Xbox row'

image captionThe court heard how the victim and his attacker fell out about the games they played

A boy who admitted slashing the neck of another teenager after they had fallen out over Xbox games has been detained for three years and nine months.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, met the victim online in December 2011 while playing the 18-rated "Gears of War 3" game.

After falling out about this and other games, the boy slashed the victim's neck in Clydebank on 14 April 2012.

The High Court in Livingston heard the boy was 13 at the time of the attack.

A previous hearing at the High Court in Glasgow was told that the boys met online around Christmas time in 2011 and eventually met in person and played football together with other youngsters.

There was no animosity between them until a month before the attack when they had fallouts online about the games they had been playing, including Gears of War 3.

Name calling

The court was told this amounted to name calling via the messaging system used in the game.

On 14 April last year the victim met up with some friends and the group later encountered the accused and another boy at a local shop.

The 14-year-old kept his distance due to the previous arguments but later that night he and another boy were going to a friend's house in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, when they became aware of the accused.

The court heard words may have been exchanged between the boys, but the victim could not recall this.

The accused grabbed the 14 year-old by the throat and then slashed him across the neck.

The victim put his hands to his throat and felt blood pouring from a large wound under his chin.

The court was told that following the attack the accused sneered at the teenager, saying "don't die", before calmly walking off.

When paramedics arrived, the victim said a boy had "slit his throat in an argument about XBox games".

The wound exposed his windpipe and required 20 staples following surgery, which has left him scarred.

The accused was later questioned after being detained at his Glasgow secondary school.

'Really sorry'

He made no comment to police at the time but it was later discovered he had sent two voice messages to his victim via Xbox Live.

One claimed he was "really sorry" for what happened and that he was "an idiot".

It said: "Honestly you don't know how upset I am. I'm sitting here on the x-box just to say I'm sorry bro."

The other, which was also sent on the day of the attack, said: "I know you won't accept my apology and I know I'm going to get the jail, but I am actual so upset and so down."

Passing sentence, Lord Turnbull told the teenager: "I accept that exposure to violent video games increases the risk of violent behaviour on the viewer's part.

"Like many other young boys, you had a fascination for violent conduct.

"You decided to indulge that fascination to the extent of carrying a knife with you then you engaged in violent conduct with the knife."

The judge said it was not known whether the teenager would had behaved in such a way of he had not spent so much time playing violent video games.

He said that even if the boy had become "desensitized to violence" by playing these games it should not "have the effect of mitigating such serious conduct".

Lord Turnbull said: "You struck your victim on the neck with such force that his windpipe was exposed and he required very skilled surgical intervention.

"It is little short of a miracle that you're not now facing a life sentence for murder.

"If I was dealing with an adult behaving in the fashion that you did I would probably impose a prison sentence bordering on double figures."

The judge said he would give what "weight" he could to the boy's age but said the only appropriate method of dealing with him was by imposing a custodial sentence.

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