The jury in the Anuj Bidve murder trial were asked to approach the case ‘dispassionately’ when sent out to consider their verdict this morning.
Kiaran Stapleton, 21, from Ordsall, Salford, admits killing Mr Bidve, a complete stranger to him, in the early hours of Boxing Day last year.
The Lancaster student was shot dead as he walked with a group of eight friends on Ordsall Lane in Salford.
The jury was told the defendant approached the group from the opposite site of the road and asked repeatedly for the time.
When he received an answer, he produced a handgun and shot Mr Bidve.
The post-mortem examination confirmed that Mr Bidve, 23, from Pune, India, died from a single bullet to the head shot from close range.
On June 25, the defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murdering the Indian postgraduate student.
The defence case is that Stapleton, who suffers from Anti-Social Personality Disorder, is guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
In his summing up, the judge, Mr Justice Timothy King, reminded the jury that it was very important they approached the case ‘dispassionately’.
He said they had to put aside any sympathy towards the defendant or the victim and assess the evidence presented to them in the trial.
The judge said that there was no dispute that Stapleton unlawfully killed Mr Bidve but the question the jury had to answer was whether the defendant intended to kill or cause serious bodily harm.
The prosecution contend Stapleton was in control of his actions, that he was not angry or upset.
The defence argued that this explanation ‘was too simplistic’ and that the defendant failed to ‘exercise self-control’ at the time of the shooting – a failure arising from his recognised medical condition.
The defence relied on Stapleton’s account that the gun belonged to his friend Ryan Holden, who was with the defendant at the scene of the shooting, that Mr Holden handed him the gun unexpectedly moments before the shooting and that Stapleton did not know or believe the gun was loaded.
It argued that Stapleton ‘lacked the mental break’ to stop him carrying out the shooting.
The judge said it is for the jury to decide whether his medical condition had played a part in the killing by ‘substantially impairing the defendant’s ability to exercise self-control’ at the time of the shooting.
Mr Justice King reminded the jury of the key evidence presented by witnesses and experts in the trial.
The jury were sent out following a four-week long trial at Manchester Crown Court.