Funeral held for murdered student
There were emotional scenes as the family and friends of an Indian student who was gunned down on Boxing Day gathered for his funeral.
Anuj Bidve, 23, was shot in the head at point-blank range as he walked along Ordsall Lane in Salford with friends.
His father Subhash Bidve and mother Yogini visited the scene before taking his body back to their home town of Pune, India. Mourners clasped one another in the street as they gathered to watch as his flower-filled open coffin was carried through the town ahead of his cremation.
His parents picked up their son's belongings from Lancaster University, where he had been studying, and met his friends and tutors before going to Ordsall Lane, where tributes and flowers had been left.
Speaking to reporters at the scene, Mr Bidve said: "We have made the journey from India in order to see Anuj, see the place where he died, and most importantly take Anuj home with us.
"Whilst in England we have taken the opportunity to meet a number of other people who were involved in Anuj's life and to achieve our goal of taking Anuj back home with us as soon as possible."
Mr Bidve, who left flowers and prayed at the spot, added: "As you can imagine, this has been an exceedingly difficult journey to make. When Anuj left India in September last year he was full of hope and ambition for the future. We were all so very proud of him.
"Anuj was our only son and we cannot comprehend this dreadful tragedy. We do not blame the people of this city for what happened. The only person we blame is the man responsible for taking Anuj away from us in such a senseless act of violence on Boxing Day morning."
Mr Bidve said the family have been "deeply moved" and have taken comfort from the hundreds of messages they have received from the people of Salford and Lancaster, and especially the Indian community.
Kiaran Stapleton, 20, of Ordsall, has been charged with murder and is due to appeared at Manchester Crown Court via video-link on March 20.