Anuj Bidve killer Kiaran Stapleton jailed for murder

Kiaran Stapleton
Image caption On his first court appearance Kiaran Stapleton gave his name as "Psycho"

The man who shot dead Indian student Anuj Bidve in a "motiveless" murder in Greater Manchester has been jailed for life.

Kiaran Stapleton, 21, was found guilty of murder at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday following a five-week trial.

He shot the 23-year-old Lancaster University student on Boxing Day 2011 as he walked to the Manchester sales with friends.

Stapleton was told he would serve a minimum term of 30 years.

The court heard he would only be released after that term if a parole board was satisfied he was no longer a risk to the public.

Mr Justice King said Stapleton - who in his first court appearance told magistrates his name was "Psycho Stapleton" - had committed a "truly wicked act" and was a "highly dangerous man" who posed a high risk of serious harm to other people.

'Positively boastful'

He told Stapleton: "In my judgment, this was no impulsive act on your part. It was a piece of cold-blooded controlled aggression.

"When you went out you were fully minded to find a victim to satisfy your desire to shoot and kill someone if you could.

"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.

"By that single act of cruelty you brought about the premature death of a bright young man who had already achieved so much and had so much to look forward to in the future."

He said he had showed a "most callous disregard" in laughing and smirking after he gunned down Mr Bidve and also during the trial.

"You have behaved in a way demonstrating that you are positively boastful about having killed Mr Bidve," he said.

Stapleton's upbringing in "a disturbed family environment" and medical diagnosis of an anti-social personality disorder did not lower his responsibility for his actions, the judge added.

The killer showed no emotion as the sentence was passed, nodded before he was led from the dock and then motioned with his hand towards his family to say "chin up".

'Openly laughed'

He had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but the jury rejected that argument and convicted him of murder.

Image caption Anuj Bidve was killed as he walked through Salford with friends

Stapleton laughed as he stood over the body of his victim, the court had heard, and he regularly grinned and laughed throughout his five-week murder trial.

He was smiling as he came into court for the verdict and beamed towards a family member as he was led from the dock.

Following the verdict, Mr Bidve's father Subhash said Stapleton had "openly laughed at the memory of our son".

He said 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 with Stapleton's and he asked them for time.

He then pulled a handgun out of his pocket and fired one shot to Mr Bidve's left temple.

Teardrop tattoo

Stapleton told one psychologist in prison he picked out his victim because "he had the biggest head", the court heard.

The day after the murder he booked into a hotel which overlooked the crime scene in Ordsall Lane.

He later went to a tattoo parlour to get a teardrop design placed below his right eye - a symbol used by some gangs to mark that the wearer has killed someone.

Mr Bidve and his wife, Yogini, revisited the crime scene following Stapleton's conviction on Thursday to say prayers and lay a bouquet of flowers.

They are due to return home to India later.

Det Ch Supt Mary Doyle, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "I have spoken to the family and while they remain grief stricken that nothing can bring Anuj back, they are very pleased Stapleton will not even be eligible for parole until he is in his fifties.

"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.

"Our thoughts remain with Anuj's family as they fly back to India and try to rebuild their lives after the senseless loss of their son."

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