Bidve accused was ‘trying to be cool’

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THE man accused of murdering Lancaster University student Anuj Bidve was “trying to be all cool” before the shooting, a jury has heard.

The gunman also “smirked or laughed” after shooting 23-year-old Mr Bidve through the head at close range.

Kiaran Stapleton, 21, is accused of killing Mr Bidve in Salford, Manchester, in the early hours of Boxing Day last year.

The victim was on his way with friends to queue for sales in Manchester when he was gunned down.

At the start of Stapleton’s trial on Monday, prosecuting barrister Brian Cummings QC told Manchester Crown Court: “With no warning the male produced a gun, put it to the head of Anuj Bidve and fired a shot. Anuj Bidve immediately fell to the ground fatally injured.

“The gunman smirked or laughed and ran off.”

The Indian student was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.

Jurors also heard a statement by Mr Bidve’s friend Anuba Gupta who said the accused had approached “sort of bouncing”. In her statement, Miss Gupta said: “When he [Stapleton] came across the road towards us he was like hip-hopping, sort of bouncing, trying to be all cool.

“When the gun went off it was like a plastic bag filled with air and burst, then the sound amplified 1,000 times.”

The court was told that a couple of days after the shooting, Stapleton had a teardrop tattoo inked onto his face.

The tattooist had told Stapleton it could signify that he had killed someone.

The defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility earlier this month, but denies murder.

The jury was told how he had described himself at an earlier hearing as “Psycho Stapleton”.

Mr Cummings said he anticipated Stapleton’s defence team would raise the partial defence of diminished responsibility during the trial but the Crown did not accept this was a case of manslaughter.

He said: “The prosecution say that if you deliberately discharge a loaded firearm into someone’s head at close quarters you must intend to cause really serious injury or death, because that is the only possible result.

“The prosecution will say therefore that all of the ingredients of the offence of murder are made out in this case.”

Another man, Ryan Holden, was originally arrested as a suspect, but is now a witness for the prosecution.

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

His parents Subhash and Yogini have flown from their home in Pune, India, to attend the trial, which is expected to last up to four weeks.