Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Man charged with student's murder

Anuj Bidve was studying for a micro-electronics postgraduate qualification at Lancaster University (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

A 20-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve, who was shot dead on Boxing Day.

Mr Bidve, 23, was shot at close range by a gunman in an apparently motiveless attack in the Ordsall district of Salford, Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police said Kiaran Mark Stapleton, from Ordsall, has been charged with the murder. He will face City of Manchester Magistrates' Court on Monday.

The announcement came as two officers from the force flew out to India to meet Mr Bidve's family. His father, Subhash Bidve, has been critical of the way the British and Indian authorities have handled the case. He found out about his son's death on Facebook at home in Pune, India, before police in the UK could contact him.

A total of five people have been arrested by police hunting the killer. On Saturday a 19-year-old man was bailed until the end of March. Three others, a 16-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys, were also released on bail pending further inquiries.

Senior officers described the murder of Mr Bidve as "horrific" and a £50,000 reward was put up by police to help catch the killer.

The victim was in a group of nine male and female Indian students visiting Manchester for a short break over Christmas. He was murdered at around 1.30am on Boxing Day as they walked from their hotel through the inner city Ordsall district, heading for Manchester city centre.

The gunman, a white man wearing a grey top, walked across the road and engaged the victim in a short conversation before shooting him at close range in the side of the head. Mr Bidve died in hospital a short time later. The killer ran back across the street before he and another person fled towards the Ordsall housing estate.

Police say they are treating the murder as a "hate crime" which may have been racially motivated. According to a Facebook page set up in Mr Bidve's memory, he "was killed for not answering a simple question - 'What's the time?'" Police have not yet disclosed what was said between the killer and his victim.

Mr Bidve was studying for a micro-electronics postgraduate qualification at Lancaster University and was described by tutors as "an outstanding applicant at the very beginning of a promising career". Described as "clever and sporty", he arrived in the UK in September after completing an electronics degree at Pune University.

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