Friend 'shocked' at random shooting

First published in News

A friend of a gunman who shot dead an Indian student in the street without warning today told a jury he was "shocked" at what he witnessed.

Kiaran Stapleton, 21, killed Indian student Anuj Bidve, 23, with a single shot to the head in Ordsall, Salford, in the early hours of Boxing Day last year and then ran off to his nearby family home.

His friend, Ryan Holden, stayed on the opposite side of the road as Stapleton crossed over to Mr Bidve and eight fellow students at Lancaster University.

Stapleton asked them the time before firing a single shot to the head of his victim.

He admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder.

Giving evidence behind a curtain at Manchester Crown Court, Mr Holden, 20, described the build-up to the shooting in Ordsall Lane.

The pair were on the opposite side of the road to the group and about level when Stapleton said to him "wait here a minute", he said.

He said: "He crossed over the road, I stayed on the other side.

"It looked like he asked for the time. He pulled up his arm, I couldn't hear him.

"The next minute I saw him put his hand in his jacket. He reached his arm out and I heard a loud bang.

"I ran straightaway. It was mad, I felt like I was there for ages but it was like a split second. I just bolted and ran."

Stapleton caught up with him and they went to the former's house in nearby Regent Square.

They headed upstairs to his bedroom on the top floor of the third-storey house, he said.

"I think when I got upstairs I was panicking a bit. He said something like "shut the f*** up, don't fold on me".

Stapleton left the room and came back 20 to 30 minutes later, he said.

Prosecutor Brian Cummings QC asked Mr Holden did they discuss what had just happened.

He replied: "For what he just did? I'm not going to say anything, am I?

"I felt like pretty shocked at it. It didn't really kick in until the next day when I woke up. I was in my own world, I didn't know what was going on."

The prosecution witness said he had known Stapleton for a long time but had only been hanging around with him for about six months before the shooting.

His cousin, Chelsea, had been in a four-year relationship with the defendant and they had a daughter together but had split up.

He said the pair had spent part of Christmas Day together at a mutual friend's house on the Orsdall estate and recalled Stapleton becoming quite "pissed off" when someone made a remark that Chelsea Holden had slept with someone else during their relationhsip.

Mr Holden said: "He started getting a pissed off and said he if sees the guy he would kill him.

"He said it had been the worst year of his life. Lost his house, his girfriend, lost his licence and hardly sees his daughter."

Stapleton had a shower after arriving at his house on the night of the shooting and asked him to do the same, he said.

When he came back the clothes he was wearing and the bag he was carrying had gone.

They slept in his bedroom but did not get much sleep, he continued.

Later that morning he said he "felt sick" and "horrible".

A friend picked them up and they spent the night at his address in Leigh, Greater Manchester.

He returned home the following day on December 27 and confessed to his mother he had been at the scene of the shooting.

"I told her I was there the other night. I had a feeling she already knew the way she was looking at me."

His granddad and grandma came to the house and he told them too.

"I said that I was out, I was going to get something to eat and he just done that. It was weird and everyone was crying. I was hugging them and that."

By that time Stapleton had booked into the Campanile Hotel in Regent Road which was in the close vicinity of the crime scene.

He said Stapleton sent him a BlackBerry message asking him to join him as they speculated whether he would be arrested.

"I said if they bust my house they bust my house. I won't say anything, I will delete the messages," he said.

Mr Holden was arrested soon after by armed police.

Mr Bidve and his friends were en route to queue for the morning sales in Manchester city centre when Stapleton approached.

The court has previously heard Stapleton smirked or laughed just after killing Mr Bidve.

He had a teardrop tattoo inked on his face two days after the shooting, which can signify the wearer has killed someone.

After he was charged with Mr Bidve's murder, the defendant appeared before magistrates in Manchester and gave his name as "Psycho Stapleton".

Mr Bidve was studying for a micro-electronics postgraduate qualification at Lancaster University after arriving in the UK last September.

Mr Bidve's parents, Subhash and Yogini, have flown from their home in Pune, India, to attend the trial which will continue on Monday.

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