A man charged with gunning down an Indian student in cold blood was accused of mocking the judicial process today when he was cross-examined on the stand.
Lawyers clashed with Kiaran Stapleton after he took the witness stand and explained why he decided to mark his face with a tear-drop tattoo just days after shooting dead 23-year-old exchange student Anuj Bidve.
In popular culture tear drop tattoos are used by gang members and criminals to indicate that they have taken someone's life. When Stapleton, 21, was asked by the tattooist why he wanted such a tattoo he claimed it was because he had killed his goldfish.
Under cross-examination he was asked by Brian Cummings QC about the goldfish claim but Stapleton replied: “I don't wish to discuss that. I might have animal cruelty sending letters to me at HMP Manchester." Mr Cummings asked: "Are you being serious or are you making fun of the proceedings? "No, no, I'm being serious," he replied.
Stapleton, who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies murder, was in combative form throughout his testimony yesterday. The jury was told how the murder suspect was seen looking out a hotel window which overlooked the crime scene in the days after Mr Bidve's killing. When Mr Cummings asked why he was doing this Stapleton replied: "Seeing if there were any nice women walking past Regent Road ... seeing if there were any nice legs."
Asked by Mr Cummings if he hoped the psychiatric reports considering the issue of diminished responsibility would be in his favour Stapleton replied: "To be honest, I'm not bothered. I love prison. I watch Coronation Street. I have got a fat canteen. I love prison. Lock me up for 65 years."
Looking to the jury from the witness box, he added: "Does this face look bothered? I have even got a new rug and bedding coming for my cell. I'm not bothered."