Salford Gunman 'Laughed' As He Shot Student

26 June 2012, 18:25 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A Salford gunman who shot an Indian student dead at close range gave a “sarcastic laugh” after pulling the trigger, a jury has heard.

A friend of 23 year old Anuj Bidve, said he saw him fall to the ground face-first after hearing a bang which he initially thought was a firecracker.

21 year old Kiaran “Psycho” Stapleton, 21, walked quickly up to the group of friends in the street in Ordsall, Salford, in the early hours of Boxing Day last year.

He calmly asked them three times what the time was and, when someone answered, he pulled out a gun without warning, put it to Mr Bidve's head and fired one shot.

Stapleton, of Regent Square, Ordsall, admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder. 

Kieran Stapleton

Kiaran Stapleton

Mr Bidve's friend 22 year old Nitish Jalali, told a jury at Manchester Crown Court that he felt “anxious” when a man wearing a white hoodie “instantaneously” walked towards them. Mr Jalali asked his friends to ignore him.

“He came over and he asked what the time is and we did not respond the first time,'' he told the jury. He said he immediately asked the same question and finally got an answer of 1.30am from a member of the group on the third occasion.

Then he pulled the trigger, Mr Jalali said. “There was a bang sound, it sounded like a firecracker,” he added. “Then Anuj fell flat, face-first.”

Prosecutor Brian Cummings QC asked: “Did anything else happen?” Mr Jalali said: “He laughed.” Mr Cummings said: “Describe that laugh.” He replied: “It was more of a sarcastic laugh.”

A second witness, Sarang Kulkarni, said he saw the man in the hooded top laughing as he stood behind Mr Bidve, who was on the ground.

Mr Kulkarni told the court: “My first thought was I imagined he was playing a prank because I saw him laughing. I did not hear the laughter but I did see him laugh. I saw an expression on his face which I thought was of laughter.”

Mr Csoka asked him if the expression could have been one of surprise. “I think I was able to tell the difference between surprise and laughter,” he replied.

The trial continues on Wednesday.