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A British killer who called himself “Psycho” was jailed for life on Friday for the random murder of an Indian student.
Kiaran Stapleton, 21, shot 23-year-old Anuj Bidve as the victim was walking through the town of Salford in north-west England, in the early hours of December 26.
Stapleton had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility - a lesser charge - but a jury at Manchester Crown Court convicted him of murder on Thursday.
“You have behaved in a way demonstrating that you are positively boastful about having killed Mr Bidve,” judge Timothy King told Stapleton as he was sentenced on Friday.
“In my judgment, this was no impulsive act on your part. It was a piece of cold-blooded controlled aggression.”
Stapleton was handed a mandatory life sentence, with judge warning that he would serve a minimum 30 years. People convicted of murder in Britain are usually eligible for parole after around 18 years.
Bidve, who was from the city of Pune in western India, had arrived in Britain last September and was studying postgraduate micro-electronics at Lancaster University in northwest England.
The court heard that Stapleton had laughed after shooting Bidve, who he had never seen before. He regularly grinned and laughed during his five-week murder trial.
He smiled again as he entered the court on Friday, and once more as he was led from the dock.
Following the verdict, Bidve's father Subhash - who flew over for the trial with his wife Yogini - said Stapleton should never be released from prison.
The killer had “openly laughed at the memory of our son,” he said.
Anuj Bidve and a group of Indian friends had left their hotel in Salford in the early hours to queue for the Christmas sales, when they crossed paths with Stapleton in the street.
Stapleton approached them and repeatedly asked for the time. When one of the group answered, he pulled out a handgun and shot Bidve in the head.
Stapleton told one psychologist in prison that he chose Bidve as his victim because “he had the biggest head”, the court heard.
The day after the killing, he booked into a hotel overlooking the crime scene and had a teardrop tattooed beneath his right eye - a symbol used by some gang-members to signal that they have killed someone.
At his first court appearance after he was arrested, he gave his name as “Psycho Stapleton”.
Bidve's parents revisited the crime scene on Thursday night to say prayers and lay flowers. They were due to return to India on Friday. - AFP