20-year-old charged with Indian student's murder in Britain

1st January 2012, Comments 0 comments

British police on Sunday charged a 20-year-old man with the murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve, who was shot in the head in an apparently unprovoked attack in Manchester.

Kiaran Mark Stapleton had been charged over Monday's shooting of 23-year-old Bidve as he walked into the city centre with Indian friends, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) announced in a televised statement.

"This remains a complex investigation and the fact we have charged someone does not mean the investigation is complete," said Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley.

"Anuj's family, who are still in India, have been made aware we have charged someone in relation to Anuj's murder," she added.

"We know that the family are extremely distressed that Anuj's body has not yet been returned to them. We have been in close contact with the coroner, who is anxious to release Anuj's body to his family at the earliest possible time."

Four other people have been arrested in connection with the shooting.

On Saturday, a 19-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder was bailed until the end of March, but on Sunday his bail was cancelled.

Three others, a 16-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys, were earlier released on bail pending further inquiries.

Bidve, from the western Indian city of Pune, was studying micro-electronics at Lancaster University in northwest England and had been on a short break in nearby Manchester with eight Indian friends when he was shot.

Police said the students were walking from their hotel in Salford towards the city centre and were in the Ordsall area, Stapleton's home-neighbourhood, when the shooting occurred.

A white male walked across the road and after a brief conversation with the victim produced a gun and shot him at close range, before running off. Bidve died in hospital a short time later.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle said it was "an extremely unusual, savage and motiveless attack, an absolutely horrific crime".

Two members of the Manchester police flew to India on Sunday to meet Bidve's family, who had criticised British and Indian authorities saying they found out about the death through social networking site Facebook before being informed by them.

The murder in Britain's third city is being treated by detectives as a "hate crime" which may have been racially motivated.

Greater Manchester police have offered a £50,000 ($78,000, 60,000 euros) reward for information.

© 2012 AFP

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