Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Laughing gunman who slayed student faces life in prison

Kiaran Stapleton has been convicted of the murder of Anuj Bidve (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

A killer who labelled himself “Psycho” after murdering an Indian student is beginning a minimum 30-year prison sentence.

Kiaran Stapleton walked up to stranger Anuj Bidve (23) in the street in Salford, Greater Manchester, and shot him in the head at point-blank range in the early hours of Boxing Day last year.

Stapleton (21) had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but a jury at Manchester Crown Court rejected that argument and convicted him of murder.

Stapleton laughed as he stood over the body of his victim. He also found amusement in police interviews over the murder and regularly grinned and laughed throughout his five-week trial.

Following the verdict, Mr Bidve's father Subhash said Stapleton had “openly laughed at the memory of our son”, adding that he believed Stapleton should never be released from prison.

His son had arrived in the UK to study micro-electronics at Lancaster University and was visiting Manchester with a group of friends last Christmas.

They left their hotel in Salford to queue early for the sales when their paths crossed Stapleton's.

He calmly walked across the road and repeatedly asked for the time. When someone finally answered he pulled a handgun out of his pocket and fired one shot to Mr Bidve's left temple.

Mr Justice King told Stapleton: “In my judgment, this was no impulsive act on your part.

“It was a piece of cold-blooded controlled aggression.”

“I have no doubt that when you fired that fatal shot you had the intention to kill, and moreover at all times you were in full control of your actions and fully aware of what you were doing.”

Stapleton would only be released after 30 years if a parole board was satisfied he no longer posed a risk to the public and even then would be on life licence and could be recalled at any time.

The judge added: “I would like to pay tribute to the dignity that Anuj's family have shown. They have had to sit through five weeks of harrowing evidence, but at least today they have seen justice done.”

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