A GUNMAN who branded himself “Psycho” is facing life in prison for shooting dead a Lancaster University student in cold-blood on Boxing Day.
Kiaran Stapleton smirked and laughed after shooting dead Anuj Bidve – then got a ‘teardrop’ tattoo commemorating the crime.
The dad-of-one had denied murder in a Manchester Crown Court trial, admitting only manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
He claimed a personality disorder affected his self-control – and that he didn’t know what he was doing at the time.
But a jury rejected that claim, and he will serve a minimum of 30 years in prison.
Mr Bidve, who was studying micro-electronics, was walking to the Boxing Day sales with eight friends when he was shot dead without warning on Ordsall Lane, Salford.
Seconds before the murder, Stapleton swaggered across the road and asked the group the time. He then pulled a pistol from his pocket and shot Anuj in the head. Eyewitnesses said that he smirked or laughed before running off.
Stapleton later claimed he had chosen his victim because he had ‘the biggest head’.
Case judge Mr Justice Timothy King said: “Stapleton will only be released, if at all, if a body, not me, decides it is safe – and that may never happen.”
Following the verdict, Anuj’s dad Subhash said: “Anuj was the kindest and most genuine person on this earth.
“He knew the difference between right and wrong and lived his life the right way.
“Kiaran Stapleton is the complete opposite, and yet he is the one who is still alive and our son is dead.
“We will now return to India, far sadder, and will take with us only the memories of our beloved son Anuj.”
Lancaster University have set up the Anuj Bidve Memorial Scholarship in his memory.
Vice-chancellor Professor Mark E Smith said: “We will remember Anuj Bidve as an outstanding student at the very beginning of a promising career.
“His family have suffered a terrible loss and our deepest sympathies are extended to them.
“As a fitting and lasting way to celebrate Anuj’s life, the university has set up the annual scholarship, which will fund a student from the University of Pune to come to Lancaster University to study an MSc in the Engineering Department.”