A laughing, smirking murderer who walked up to a complete stranger and shot him dead should never be released from prison, the victim’s father said.
Kiaran “Psycho” Stapleton faces a lengthy spell in prison when he is sentenced later today for the murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve, 23, in Salford on Boxing Day last year.
Stapleton, 21, was seen by witnesses to laugh as he stood over the body of his victim before running off. He also found amusement in police interviews over the murder and regularly grinned and laughed throughout his five-week murder trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Mr Bidve’s father, Subhash, said the antics of Stapleton “openly laughed at the memory of our son”.
Stapleton admitted killing Mr Bidve on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder.
A jury took barely more than two hours to reject that argument.
The defendant beamed as he came into court for the verdict and again towards a family member as he was led from the dock.
Mr Bidve, who was studying microelectronics, was visiting Manchester with a group of friends from Lancaster University last Christmas.
They left their hotel in the early hours of Boxing Day 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.
Following the verdict, Mr Bidve said: “Our son, 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.
“When Anuj came to the United Kingdom in September 2011 he carried with him the hopes and dreams of all our family. He was the man who was going to fulfil our hopes and dreams. Instead, in the early hours of Boxing Day morning, Stapleton cold-bloodedly and brutally murdered our son.
“Whilst giving his evidence in this trial Stapleton grinned, smiled and openly laughed at the memory of our son and at one stage looked towards the jury and pointed to his face saying, ‘Look at this face. Does it look bothered?’”
Mr Bidve later added: “When he was in the witness box he was not bothered about anything.
“He is a bad man, he is a cruel man and he got what he deserved.”
He said he thought that Stapleton knew exactly why he killed his son but would not tell.
“He should not in fact be released from prison because he may do something again,” added Mr Bidve. “That is what he said (himself).”
Stapleton’s callousness and audacity was stark in the days he remained at large after the shooting.
First he booked into a hotel which overlooked the crime scene in Ordsall Lane to watch the investigation unfold and revel in the chaos he had created.
Then he 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 he boasted that his name was “Psycho Stapleton”.
The charge was prompted by a statement to police from his friend Ryan Holden, who was on the other side of the road as Stapleton pulled the trigger.
Mr Holden is now in witness protection along with his immediate family and his cousin, Chelsea Holden, who is the ex-partner of Stapleton and mother of their two-year-old daughter.
Speaking ahead of sentencing, Mr Justice King pointed out that, whatever sentence he imposes, Stapleton would only be released if he was considered to no longer pose a danger to the public.
“That may not ever happen,” he added.