How the senseless murder of student Anuj Bidve shocked the nation

Anuj Bidve was a talented student who came to Britain with a dream of inventing a gadget that could change the world.

But 10 years ago today, in the early hours of Boxing Day 2011, that dream was shattered in the most senseless way imaginable.

Anuj, who was studying micro-electronics at Lancaster University, was walking to the Boxing Day sales with eight friends when he was shot dead without warning at Ordsall Lane, Salford in a crime that shocked the nation.

His cold-blooded killer Kiaran Stapleton smirked and laughed after shooting him dead in the street – and then got a tattoo commemorating the crime.


Anuj, 23, had arrived in the UK from his home town of Pune, India, just four months earlier, throwing himself into research into micro-chips that would help heart patients.

His proud parents had re-mortgaged their home to pay for his postgraduate study in micro-electronics, and Anuj would speak to them via Skype every night to let them know how he was doing.

Anuj and his pals had decided to go to Manchester for Christmas, because Lancaster was deserted.

After a day spent hanging about together, they decided it would be fun to queue for the Boxing Day sales, hoping to get some bargains in Next.

The parents of Anuj Bidve visit Ordsall Lane where their son was shot dead on Boxing Day
Anuj Bidve’s mum Yogini visit Ordsall Lane where their son was shot dead on Boxing Day 2011

Not long after, his parents Subhash and Yogini would hear the worst possible news about their beloved son.

One of the party contacted Anuj’s family on Facebook and urged them to contact Greater Manchester Police.

A family liaison officer told them that Anuj was dead.

At first glance Kiaran Stapleton – then 21 – seemed little different from many other young man his age.

GUILTY: Kiaran Stapleton, with 'teardrop' tattoo on his face commemorating his murder of Anuj Bidve
Kiaran Stapleton, with ‘teardrop’ tattoo on his face commemorating his murder of Anuj Bidve

He was fond of Adidas tracksuits, junk food and alcopops, and although he was a distant cousin of the Noonan crime clan, he had none of their notoriety.

One of a family of nine children raised in Ordsall, he worked nights at his job at banner-making factory, never touched drugs, and kept his home scrupulously clean and tidy.

But, from an early age, Stapleton, a father-of-one, had been prone to sudden rages that would explode in violence.

He was referred to a child psychologist aged 11, expelled from school three years later, and his education had finished completely by the time he was 15.

Armed police stop and serach a youth on the Ordsall estate following the gun death of student Anuj Bidve
Armed police stop and search a youth on the Ordsall estate following the murder

By the age of 17 he was working for his uncle as a builder,but would fly into a rage whenever he messed up at work. He also worked as an office junior for Salford council, and at a call centre before settling down to a £250 a week factory job at Trafford Park.

In 2010 Stapleton split from the mother of his daughter. Soon after the break-up he was also involved in a road rage incident, when he chased down a driver and shunted him, led to him losing his licence.

It is thought this tipped him over the edge and at some point he got hold of a gun that he used to kill innocent Anuj Bidve.

There was no reason for the shocking, random attack.

Stapleton selected Anuj as his victim because he had ‘the biggest head’, the trial heard.

When he was arrested and quizzed after a couple of days at large, Stapleton made Walter Mitty-style boasts of being an underworld figure called the ‘Taxman’.

And, at his first appearance at the magistrates’ court, he revelled in the attention, giving his name as ‘Stapleton, Psycho. Psycho Stapleton’.

Kiaran Stapleton
Kiaran Stapleton

Stapleton denied murder in a Manchester Crown Court trial, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He claimed that a personality disorder affected his self-control – and that he ‘didn’t know what I was doing’.

And chilling remarks made after the murder lent support to a forensic psychiatrist’s conclusion that Stapleton ‘does not feel as others feel’.

During interviews with the experts, he said of Anuj: “I blew a hole in his head.

“There’s nothing I can say, nothing whatsoever. They [Mr Bidve’s party] should have got a taxi; things would have been different if they had got a taxi.”

Vigil at the spot where Anuj Bidve was shot dead.
A vigil at the spot where Anuj Bidve was shot dead

Speaking of the killing, he said: “I have not given it one thought – it’s like it not me who’s done it. When I click off I become a monster.”

But the jury rejected Stapleton’s claims of innocence to murder after a month-long trial, which Anuj’s parents attended every single day.

On Friday, July 27, 2012 Stapleton was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 30 years before he is eligible for parole.

Mr Justice King, the trial judge, said Stapleton had committed a ‘truly wicked act’, was ‘highly dangerous’ and posed a high risk of serious harm to other people.

He told Stapleton: “In my judgement, this was no impulsive act on your part. It was a piece of cold-blooded, controlled aggression.”

Nine days earlier – on what would have been Anuj’s 24th birthday – the Bidves visited the scene in Ordsall Lane, lighting a candle, laying flowers and cards and saying prayers for him.

In a statement outside court they said that when Anuj arrived in the UK, he had carried the hopes and dreams of the family and they were gone ‘in the blink of an eye’ when Stapleton shot him.

Anuj Bidve's father outside court
Anuj Bidve’s father Subhash outside court

Their son was the ‘kindest and most genuine person on earth’, they said, and Stapleton was the complete opposite, yet he was still alive.

“We will now return to India, far sadder, and will take with us only the memories of our beloved son Anuj,” they added.

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