Kiaran Stapleton’s manner was ‘purposeful and predatory’ and he acted to ‘enhance his reputation’ suggested a clinical psychiatrist at the murder trial of Anuj Bidve.
Stapleton, 21, of Ordsall, accused of killing the Indian student pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder at Manchester Crown Court.
Clinical psychologist Dr Adrian West, expert witness for the prosecution, described ‘purposeful, predatory violence’ as a ‘planned attack behaviour with usually minimum levels of autonomic arousal and the absence of intense emotions’, as opposed to affective violence.
Referring to Stapleton’s actions in the night of the shooting, Dr West said: “He approached the group of students by his own account with the gun concealed in his right hand.”
In approaching the group, he was ‘not loud, not aggressive, but casual and walking in a hip-hop style’.
“He did not give any indication of high arousal, he was not shouting, he was not complaining about any reaction perceived towards him.
“He acted in a purposeful and predatory manner which is not at all consistent with affective and reactive violence,” Dr West said.
When Dr West had asked the defendant if anyone else other than the members of the group could have been shot, Stapleton said: ‘Possibly’.
When asked by Simon Driver, prosecuting, about the possible ‘goal’ of this ‘instrumental violence’, Dr West said: “Mr Stapleton was trying to show himself capable of being able to perform this kind of instrumental violence because I consider it possible that within his community this act means enhancing his reputation.
“What he did might be a means of achieving some form of notoriety,” Dr West added.
In an earlier interview with Defence psychologist Dr Sanya Krljes, Stapleton, who once described himself as a ‘taxman’, said: “It is like that in my area, things happen so people burn clothes.”
Dr West also said that gun-related violence can be seen as a means of ‘affirming identity and masculinity’.
“The gun involves more than the means of killing. It has been used to define Kiaran Stapleton’s identity as a killer, to reinforce his reputation,” he said.
He assigned similar significance to the teardrop tattoo, which, in his opinion, ‘marks Stapleton’s identity as a killer’, and to a prison incident, scalded another inmate and then attacked him with billiard balls in a sock.
Following the incident, Stapleton said: “Guys see me differently now. I kept to myself before, now they respect me.”
When cross-examined by Simon Csoka QC, Dr West said: “There is a class of criminals who respect the capability to kill.
“Using the weapon somehow defines him, enhancing his reputation among his peers in Ordsall.”
However, Simon Csoka QC, defending, suggested there is no evidence that this class of people exists in Ordsall.
The trial continues today.