Salford Boxing Day gunman Kiaran Stapleton 'had a bounce in his step'


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The Independent Online

A killer gunman walked with a bounce in his step like a “wannabe” shortly before shooting an Indian student in the head, a court heard.

Kiaran Stapleton, 21, approached Anuj Bidve, 23, and his eight friends in Ordsall, Salford, in the early hours of Boxing Day last year as they headed to queue for the sales in Manchester city centre.

The fellow students at Lancaster University today continued to describe to a jury how the defendant fired at the victim without warning before allegedly laughing and then running off.

Stapleton, of Regent Square, Ordsall, admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, which the Crown Prosecution Service does not accept. He denies murder.

The trial at Manchester Crown Court heard written statements from some of Mr Bidve's party who had travelled with him to Manchester for Christmas.

Anuba Gupta said she saw a man wearing a white or grey hooded top and denim jeans with his hands in his pockets walk diagonally across the road in their direction.

She said: "He was hip-hopping, bouncing, trying to be all cool. When he walked to us it was as if he was someone who wanted to be a wannabe.

"Anuj seemed to be the loudest of the group and got everyone near to each other."

She said the stranger was not unfriendly as he loudly asked for the time.

When someone in the group answered she heard a loud bang which made her ear go numb, she said.

"It felt my ear had been ripped from my body," she continued.

Akanksha Jain said she too noticed the way the man walked towards the group.

"He was walking loosely," she said, "like when you are in a fun or good mood."

After her friend had been shot and an ambulance was called she went over to him and said: "Anuj be there, I'm there, we are all there."

But there was no response, she said.

Danica Lobo described the man walking to them "pretty fast" and "confident with his walk".

"He walked with a bit of a bounce," she said. "A chalk in his walk.

"He was very confident when he was walking.

"We was not expecting anything like this...that he was just a normal guy."

Mr Bidve was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead.

The court has previously heard Stapleton had a teardrop tattoo inked on his face two days after the shooting, which can signify the wearer has killed someone.

After he was charged with Mr Bidve's murder, the defendant appeared before magistrates in Manchester and gave his name as "Psycho Stapleton".

Mr Bidve was studying for a micro-electronics postgraduate qualification at Lancaster University after arriving in the UK last September.

Mr Bidve's parents, Subhash and Yogini, have flown from their home in Pune, India, to attend the trial, which is scheduled to last up to four weeks.

They were joined in court today by Anuj Bidve's sister and her husband.

The jury was shown CCTV footage captured in the area before and after the shooting.

A petrol station camera picked up Stapleton and five young males on foot a matter of minutes before the incident.

Stapleton and one of the men, Ryan Holden - now a prosecution witness - are then seen to walk towards Ordsall Lane.

A pub CCTV camera later captured two figures running into a housing estate away from the scene.

The court was told Stapleton made a number of internet searches on Google and news websites via his phone from about five hours after the killing.

Words typed included "Salford shooting" "Salford shooting Ordsall" and "Salford shooting last night".

Later the same morning Stapleton was seen on camera entering a local newsagent with two males, one being Mr Holden, and a female.

The jury saw the defendant wearing a light-coloured hooded Adidas top.

He stood at the counter, bounced on his heels and took his hood up and down several times.