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Grand Theft Auto hits headlines again

Killer planned "GTA-style massacre".

Grand Theft Auto has once again hit the headlines, this time in relation to a killing spree aboard a submarine.

23-year-old Ryan Donovan, from Dartford, Kent, told friends he was about to go on a "Grand Theft Auto-style massacre" before he embarked upon a gun rampage aboard HMS Astute, according to a report by The Metro newspaper.

He was jailed yesterday for a minimum of 25 years for shooting Lt Cmdr Ian Molyneux in the head at point blank range with a SA80 assault rifle after a heavy night of drinking.

Before that he had shot at two petty officers, who dodged the bullets. After killing Molyneux he shot and seriously wounded Lt Cmdr Christopher Hodge. He was eventually tackled by Southampton city council leader Royston Smith and chief executive Andrew Neill.

Prosecutor Nigel Lickley told the court: "He started talking about the video game Grand Theft Auto where you start a massacre and rack up points by killing."

Neil described Donovan as being like somebody who was in "a dream and they were doing this almost like in a video game".

The Metro newspaper carries the story on its front page this morning, with the headline: "Sailor's 'GTA gun spree' on nuke sub."

The sandbox gangster game is no stranger to controversy, of course, and is often linked to real world violence.

In 2009 a multi-million dollar lawsuit was filed in Alabama against Take-Two, claiming that months of playing the game led a teenager to go on a rampage and kill three men, two of them police officers.

Last month, amid the UK riots, a London Evening Standard front page headline linked GTA to the real world violence. It was based on a quote from a constable, and was later pulled.