Salford gunman 'laughed' as he shot student Anuj Bidve

 

A gunman who shot an Indian student dead at close range gave a “sarcastic laugh” after pulling the trigger, a jury heard today.

A friend of Anuj Bidve, 23, said he saw him fall to the ground face-first after hearing a bang which he initially thought was a firecracker.

Kiaran "Psycho" Stapleton, 21, walked quickly up to the group of friends in the street in Ordsall, Salford, in the early hours of Boxing Day last year.

He calmly asked them three times what the time was and, when someone answered, he pulled out a gun without warning, put it to Mr Bidve's head and fired one shot.

Stapleton, of Regent Square, Ordsall, admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder.

Mr Bidve's friend Nitish Jalali, 22, told a jury at Manchester Crown Court that he felt "anxious" when a man wearing a white hoodie "instantaneously" walked towards them. Mr Jalali asked his friends to ignore him.

"He came over and he asked what the time is and we did not respond the first time," he told the jury.

He said he immediately asked the same question and finally got an answer of 1.30am from a member of the group on the third occasion.

Then he pulled the trigger, Mr Jalali said.

"There was a bang sound, it sounded like a firecracker," he added.

"Then Anuj fell flat, face-first."

He said that as he turned around he saw the man's hand level with Mr Bidve's head and saw a silver patch on the top of the man's hand.

By the time he had completely turned round, the man, who had shaven hair, had gone.

Prosecutor Brian Cummings QC asked: "Did anything else happen?"

Mr Jalali said: "He laughed."

Mr Cummings said: "Describe that laugh."

He replied: "It was more of a sarcastic laugh."

He then saw him run off with another male who stayed on the opposite side of the road throughout the incident.

Mr Jalali told Simon Csoka QC, cross-examining, that he was sure it was a sarcastic laugh he heard, rather than just a "brief noise".

He said the man appeared "perfectly normal" when asking the time and was not aggressive in any way.

Yesterday, in the opening of the case, the jury heard that the defendant had a "killer" tattoo inked on his face two days after the shooting.

He went to a tattoo shop in Swinton and had a teardrop design put on his right cheek.

Mr Cummings said staff remembered the visit because the tattoo can signify that the wearer has killed someone.

He said: "This was pointed out to Kiaran Stapleton, in an effort to ensure that this was really what he wanted, and he said words to the effect that he had killed his goldfish, did that count?"

The next day the defendant was arrested and initially denied being the killer before he was charged with Mr Bidve's murder.

When he made his first appearance at Manchester Magistrates' Court, he was asked if his name was Kiaran.

Stapleton replied: "No, Psycho. Psycho Stapleton."

Mr Bidve was studying for a micro-electronics postgraduate qualification at Lancaster University after arriving in the UK last September and had travelled with eight fellow students to spend Christmas in Manchester.

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.

PA

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