Kiaran Stapleton jailed for life for murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve

 

A judge apologised to the parents of a murdered Indian student for the loss of their son as he sentenced his killer to serve a minimum of 30 years in jail.

Mr Justice King described Kiaran Stapleton, who gunned down Anuj Bidve, 23, in a motiveless attack in Salford on Boxing Day, as acting with "cold blooded controlled aggression".

He said he hoped the family and the Indian community would accept that "this dreadful killing was the act of a single individual who is not representative of the wider community of so many different backgrounds who are resident in this country".

Passing sentence at Manchester Crown Court the judge said the 21-year-old gunman had conducted himself with the "most callous disregard" laughing and smirking his way through the month long trial.

The judge described the factory worker as "highly dangerous" and said he would only be released when it was considered safe to do so.

He said he had set out that night with the intention to murder. "When you went out you were fully minded to find a victim to satisfy your desire to shoot and kill someone if you could," the judge said.

Mr Bidve was with a group of Indian friends setting out to visit the early morning Boxing Day sales in Manchester city centre last year when he was approached by Stapleton and shot at point blank range.

The gunman later described himself as "Psycho" in a court appearance after boasting to friends of his new found status as a killer even celebrating the fact by having a teardrop tattooed on his face.

He admitted manslaughter but denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. But the jury took just two hours to reject his defence even though both sides accepted he had a personality disorder.

Mr Bidve's father Subhash said Stapleton had "openly laughed at the memory of our son" and should never be released from prison. Following the verdict the family visited the site of the shooting to say prayers for their son. They were due to return to their home in Pune last night.

Brian Cummings QC, prosecuting, read extracts from Mr Bidve's victim impact statement. It said the family had chosen the UK as a place for Anuj to study rather than the United States and Australia because they believed it was safer. He said his son had been happy here and that the only thing he did not like was the British weather.

"Our life fell apart on December 26. Anuj was the most gentle person you could ever meet. To shoot him in the street for no reason at all is just incomprehensible. We will never recover from this dreadful act," he said.

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