Police investigating the “horrific” Boxing Day murder of an Indian student have offered a £50,000 reward as it emerged the victim’s father learned of his son’s death from Facebook.
The cash for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer of Anuj Bidve was offered in the hope murder squad detectives will be given vital clues.
The 23-year-old was shot in the head at point-blank range as he walked with friends near their hotel in the inner-city Ordsall district of Salford, in the early hours of December 26.
His father, Subhash Bidve, who read a post on the social networking site before officers were able to get in touch with him in India to deliver the news, said: “They could have called us and told us what had happened to him.”
His son’s murder is being treated by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) as a “hate crime” and may have been racially motivated.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle, who is leading the murder inquiry, said: “It is an extremely unusual, savage and motiveless attack, an absolutely horrific crime, which is why we are taking the step of issuing it (the reward) a bit earlier than we normally would.
“We absolutely understand the need to take whoever is responsible for this off the streets.”
Mr Bidve earlier told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Nobody official from the UK Government or consulate or the Indian government called us and told us about this.
“I am really surprised because they confiscated his phone and must have known his father’s or mother’s number.”
In issuing an apology, Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley, from GMP, said: “That is not the way anyone should have to find out something so devastating and we completely understand how upset the family are.
“Social networking is instantaneous and we have no control over when and what people post on such sites, but no-one should hear such tragic news in this way.”
A 16-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys arrested over the murder have been released on bail pending further inquiries. Two men, aged 19 and 20, remain in custody.
Ms Copley said officers were liaising with other authorities and the family to help bring relatives to Manchester as soon as possible.
She added: “This is a despicable and senseless murder that has shocked everyone and the Bidve family are going through something no family should ever have to endure.”
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said he would be asking for a full report into the circumstances of Mr Bidve’s death, after speaking to his family in India yesterday.
Mr Vaz said: “Overseas students need to be reassured that the UK has taken every possible step to ensure such a tragic event will not happen again.
“Most importantly, his family deserve to know the truth about the final moments of their much-loved son.”