'Psycho' in British court accused of Indian student murder

2nd January 2012, Comments 0 comments

A man describing himself as "Psycho Stapleton" appeared in a British court on Monday accused of shooting dead an Indian student in northwest England.

Kiaran Stapleton, 20, was remanded in custody for 24 hours at an initial court appearance in Manchester, where he was formally charged with the murder of Anuj Bidve in the Salford area of the city.

Stapleton was led into the courtroom in handcuffs wearing a grey T-shirt and grey tracksuit trousers, with four armed officers standing guard in the room.

When asked for his name, he replied: "Psycho. Psycho Stapleton."

Prosecutor Ben Southam said the case would be sent to a higher court.

A scrum of journalists surrounded the prison van carrying Stapleton when it arrived at the court, which was packed with reporters.

A lone gunman shot Bidve, 23, in the head after approaching him at around 1:30 am (0130 GMT) on December 26 as he walked with a group of friends towards Manchester city centre.

The student, from the western Indian city of Pune, died a short time later in hospital.

The friends were in Stapleton's home neighbourhood of Ordsall when the shooting occurred.

Police have described the murder of Bidve, who arrived in England in September to study micro-electronics at Lancaster University, as "extremely, unusual, savage and motiveless."

Hundreds of people gathered in Salford on Monday for a candlelit memorial service, while around a dozen mourners held a peace vigil in New Delhi.

Friends of the 23-year-old joined locals for the event on Ordsall Lane, the scene of Bidve's murder.

A Hindu priest sang prayers and read out a message sent by Bidve's family.

"He could easily bring a smile to anyone's face," said the message.

"His passing will not only leave a void in our lives but in the hearts of all those who knew him."

A lamppost became a makeshift shrine as members of the public placed candles around a framed photo of the murdered student.

Salford resident Christine Hill, 51, left a bouquet with the message: "Love and prayers from all the good people of Salford."

"I came just to show support for the person that was murdered and for his family," she added. "This is such a horrific event to take place, it's a sign of the times sadly."

Another tribute read: "From one proud British born Indian, in memory of a fellow Indian, love and prayers. I have lived in this city all my life and am sickened by this senseless violence."

Two members of Greater Manchester Police, Chief Superintendent Barry Russell Jackson and Detective Constable Peter Christian Rickards, flew to India on Sunday to meet Bidve's family, who have criticised the police after they found out through social networking site Facebook about the murder.

GMP Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley has said it is important "to have someone from the force meet with Anuj's family at the earliest opportunity and help support them at this time."

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

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

© 2012 AFP

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