A KILLER who labelled himself “Psycho” after murdering a Lancaster University student has been jailed for life with a minimum of 30 years.
Kiaran Stapleton walked up to Indian student Anuj Bidve, 23, in the street in Salford, Greater Manchester, on Boxing Day last year, and shot him in the head at point blank range.
Stapleton, 21, had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but a jury at Manchester Crown Court rejected that argument and convicted him of murder on Thursday.
Earlier during the five-week murder trial, the court had heard how Stapleton had laughed as he stood over the body of his victim.
He found amusement in police interviews over the murder and regularly grinned and laughed throughout the trial.
Anuj Bidve had arrived in the UK to study micro-electronics in Lancaster and was visiting Manchester with a group of friends last Christmas.
They left their hotel in Salford to queue early for the sales when their paths crossed with Stapleton’s.
He calmly walked across the road and repeatedly asked for the time.
When someone finally answered he pulled a handgun out of his pocket and fired one shot to Mr Bidve’s left temple.
Stapleton told one psychologist in prison that he picked out his victim because “he had the biggest head”, the court heard.
The day after the murder he booked into a hotel which overlooked the crime scene in Ordsall Lane and then later went to a tattoo parlour and had a teardrop design placed below his right eye – a symbol used by some gangs to mark that the wearer has killed someone.
After he was arrested and charged with murder he made his first appearance at Manchester Magistrates’ Court and gave his name as “Psycho Stapleton”.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice King told Stapleton: “In my judgment, this was no impulsive act on your part. It was a piece of cold-blooded controlled aggression.”
He told Stapleton he had showed a “most callous disregard” in laughing and smirking after he gunned down Mr Bidve and also during the trial.
“You have behaved in a way demonstrating that you are positively boastful about having killed Mr Bidve,” he added.
Stapleton nodded before he was led from the dock and then motioned with his hand towards his family to say “chin up”.
Mr Bidve’s parents, Subhash and Yogini, revisited the crime scene on Thursday night to say prayers and lay a bouquet of flowers and were due to return home to India after Friday’s sentencing.
Following the verdict, Subhash Bidve said Stapleton had “openly laughed at the memory of our son” and said he believed he should never be released from prison.