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Anuj Bidve's killer checked into hotel after shooting

Anuj Bidve was shot as he walked with friends through Salford Photo:

A gunman joked that police would not find him at a hotel near to where he shot dead a stranger the day before.

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.

The next morning he checked into a hotel within close vicinity of the crime scene, a jury at Manchester Crown Court heard.

Mr Bidve and eight fellow students at Lancaster University had travelled to Manchester for Christmas and were en route to queue for the morning sales when the complete stranger approached them.

He asked them the time and then without warning gunned down Mr Bidve in Ordsall Lane.

Stapleton, of Regent Square, Ordsall, admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder.

The court was told Stapleton checked into the Campanile Hotel in Regent Road on the afternoon of December 27.

A lengthy exchange of BlackBerry messages followed between the defendant and his friend, Ryan Holden - now a prosecution witness - who was with him on the night of the shooting.

They discussed a number of people being arrested and speculated whether they would be next.

In one exchange, Holden wrote to him: "You are off it. They won't find you there innit."

Stapleton replies: "I hope they don't lol.

"I wish I had more money to base myself there two days or summat."

Stapleton left the hotel at various points to buy beer and vodka and then four of his associates - two men and their girlfriends - later visited his room in the evening.

Later, Stapleton messages Holden: "Just on my way back and three armed jeeps at Sainsbos."

"They see you?" asks Holden.

"I was on my bike, man," he says.

During their contact, Holden told the defendant he thought police were outside his house and said he would delete his number shortly before going to sleep.

At about 1.35am the next day Holden was arrested by armed police at his address in Salford.

CCTV cameras at the hotel captured Stapleton coming down for breakfast and reading a newspaper.

He was seen looking out of the hotel windows on several occasions.

Stapleton then took a number of photographs of himself on his mobile phone, the jury was told.

One showed him wearing just a bathrobe sitting on his hotel bed and smiling.

He left the hotel at lunchtime and took another picture of himself in Manchester city centre.

Stapleton returned soon after and was seen watching the hotel television in the bar area.

He checked out at about 1.45pm and was picked up in a white vehicle and driven off.

Kiaran Stapleton shot Anuj Bidve in the early hours of Boxing Day

Material recovered from his mobile phone shows he took another photograph of himself in the back seat of the car.

The court was told he was arrested by armed police at 1.30am on December 29 at a house in Rugby Road in Leigh, Greater Manchester.

When told he was being arrested on suspicion of murder, he said: "Fucking hell, getting woken up like that.

"Did you say suspicion?...You are just pulling in everyone from the area. I have a got a job, me. I work nights, I was in the area."

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

It is said 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 is scheduled to last up to four weeks.

A 9mm bullet was found lodged in a wooden fence at the crime scene, the court heard.

The weapon has not been recovered.

Firearms expert Andre Horne said the bullet was "very likely" to have been fired from a semi-automatic pistol.

The gun cartridge was also not traced.

Mr Horne said the entry wound to the victim was 6cm above the earhole on the left temple and the gun was fired at a distance of up to 18 inches away.

Stapleton shouted abuse from the dock at a witness who described him as "acting as though he was a small-time gangster".

The outburst followed the evidence of the manager of the Candy Skull tattoo shop where the defendant paid #30 for his teardrop inking.

Former police officer Mark Fish said Stapleton was the only person in his time at the shop in Chorley Road, Swinton, who had asked for such a tattoo.

He said in years past it signified someone who had been released from borstal but more recently was known as a marking - often done amateurishly in prison - to state the wearer had killed somebody.

Mr Fish said he also recalled Stapleton saying he and his three friends in the shop wanted the tattoo because they were "all part of a gang".

As Mr Fish left the witness box, Stapleton shouted: "Fat f****** prick."

In front of the jury, Mr Justice King said to Stapleton's barrister, Simon Csoka QC: "I did not hear what was said but it is in his interests just to say nothing because outbursts like that can only do him harm.

"I know it is difficult for him in a trial when you hear things but he should say nothing."

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