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‘I love prison, lock me up!’ Kiaran Stapleton gives evidence to Manchester jury during murder trial of Anuj Bidve

By Dean Wilkins

Salford gunman Kiaran Stapleton said he would relish the chance of getting life in prison to enjoy the comforts of life inside, during his murder trial in Manchester today.

He was also accused of mocking the court after claiming a ‘killer’ tattoo was about his goldfish not Anuj Bidve.

The 21-year-old said he did not want to discuss the pet because he might receive animal cruelty letters in prison.

Stapleton admits manslaughter but denies murder after the Indian student was shot dead on Boxing Day while walking with a group of friends.

While giving evidence in Crown Court, Stapleton was asked by Brian Cummings QC if he hoped the psychiatric reports returned in his favour regarding diminished responsibility.

He replied: “To be honest, I’m not bothered.

“I love prison. I watch Coronation Street. I have got a fat canteen. I love prison. Lock me up for 65 years.”

Looking to the jury from the witness box, he added: “Does this face look bothered?

“I have even got a new rug and bedding coming for my cell. I’m not bothered.”

Mr Cummings QC asked Stapleton why he got the tattoo two days after the death and he replied saying that he knew it signified he had killed – but insisted it was his goldfish.

“I don’t wish to discuss that,” he said. “I might have animal cruelty sending letters to me at HMP Manchester.”

Mr Cummings asked: “Are you being serious or are you making fun of the proceedings?

“No, no, I’m being serious,” he replied.

The defendant was also accused of making fun of the court when questioned about his stay at the Campanile Hotel in Regent Road the day after the shooting.

He was captured on CCTV looking out of the building’s windows and when Mr Cummings asked why he was doing so, Stapleton said: “Seeing if there were any nice women walking past Regent Road … seeing if there were any nice legs.”

The prosecutor asked: “Is that true or are you having a laugh in this trial?

“No, that’s true,” Stapleton replied.

Stapleton admitted he told a psychiatrist there was ‘no light at the end of the tunnel’ if he were to be convicted of murder.

But a manslaughter verdict would help him get help with his diagnosed dangerous personality disorder.

Stapleton has told the various experts he could not explain why he had shot Mr Bidve.

Mr Cummings said: “But you can say, can’t you?”

Stapleton replied: “I don’t know, do you know? If you know something then tell me, please.”

The prosecutor continued: “You did it because you wanted to?”

“Why would I want to kill an innocent person?,” Stapleton asked.

Mr Cummings revealed in one interview a psychiatrist asked Stapleton if he was aware he would gain a ‘distinct reputation’ for the manner of the shooting.

Stapleton told the expert that the phrase ‘fearsome reputation’ was better worded and he should write that down in his report.

The jury was also played a recording of a prison phone conversation between Stapleton and his brother Kyle.

Stapleton said he could not understand why the court was told his mother could not afford to buy a £50 cardigan.

He said: “What they on about? We have cannabis farms all over and we have more guns than the police.”

Explaining those comments, he told the jury: “That was purely for a laugh and a laugh only. I knew my calls were being listened to and they were being produced at court.”

Mr Cummings concluded his questionning by suggesting to Stapleton: “You simply wanted to be the killer who got away with it?”

“No,” he replied.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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