Kiaran Stapleton, a Briton who calls himself ‘Psycho’, was on Thursday found guilty of the cold-blooded murder of Anuj Bidve — seven months after he walked up to the Indian student in the northern town of Salford and shot him in the head for no apparent reason.
Stapleton, who looked around the courtroom and grinned before the jury announced the verdict, will be sentenced on Friday. The verdict finding him guilty of murder rather than manslaughter means the 21-year-old man will now be jailed, and not sent into psychiatric care.
The jury took 90 minutes to reach the verdict in a case that sickened India and Britain, drawing condemnations from Prime Minister David Cameron. Among others present at Manchester Crown Court were Pune-based Subhash and Yogini Bidve, parents of the 23-year-old student of micro-electronics at Lancaster University.
Anuj and his friends were walking to Manchester scouting for Christmas sales on December 26 when Stapleton walked up to them around 1.30 am and asked for the time before whipping out his gun and shooting Bidve in the head. Police found the shaved-headed man hiding in a home some 20km away.
Stapleton told a psychologist, “I blew a hole in his head, there is nothing I can say, nothing whatsoever. They should have got a taxi, things would have been different then.”
When the prosecution asked if he hoped psychiatric reports would prevent him being jailed, he told the court, “To be honest, I’m not bothered. I love prison. Lock me up for 65 years.”
On hearing the verdict, Anuj’s mother cried and his father bowed in his seat and held his hands to his face.