Gunman laughed as he pulled trigger

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A GUNMAN “smirked or laughed” after shooting a student through the head at close range, a jury has heard.

Kiaran Stapleton, 21, is accused of killing Lancaster University student Anuj Bidve in the early hours of Boxing Day last year.

The victim, 23, was on his way with friends to queue for sales in Manchester when he was gunned down.

At the start of Stapleton’s trial on Monday, prosecuting barrister Brian Cummings QC told Manchester Crown Court: “With no warning the male produced a gun, put it to the head of Anuj Bidve and fired a shot.

“Anuj Bidve immediately fell to the ground fatally injured. The gunman smirked or laughed and ran off.”

The court also heard that a couple of days after the shooting, Stapleton had a teardrop tattoo painted onto his face. The tattooist had told the customer it could signify that he had killed someone. The defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility earlier this month, but denies murder.

The jury was told how he had described himself at an earlier hearing as “Psycho Stapleton”.

Another man, Ryan Holden, was originally arrested as a suspect, but is now a witness for the prosecution.

After being arrested, Stapleton is alleged to have said: “So I suppose Ryan will be under the ... how do you want to put it ... the witness protection? Cos he’s gonna need a hell more than that.”

Mr Bidve was a postgraduate electronics student at Lancaster University.

His parents Subhash and Yogini have flown from their home in Pune, India, to attend the trial which is expected to last up to four weeks.