Saturday 24 March 2018

Killer claims teardrop tattoo did not refer to Indian student’s death but to his goldfish

Kim Pilling

A KILLER who gunned down an Indian student has been accused of mocking his trial with a remark about his goldfish.

Kiaran Stapleton claims a "killer" teardrop tattoo he had inked on his face was not referring to the Boxing Day shooting but the death of the fish.

Today he told a jury at Manchester Crown Court that he did not want to discuss the goldfish because he might receive "animal cruelty" letters in prison.

Stapleton, 21, walked up to Indian student Anuj Bidve, 23, and his friends in the street in Ordsall, Salford, asked them the time and then without warning fired one shot to his victim's head.

He admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder of the complete stranger.

Under cross-examination he was asked by Brian Cummings QC why he decided to get the tattoo two days after the killing.

He explained he knew that it had several meanings, including signifying the wearer had killed someone, and that he told staff at the tattoo shop that he had killed his goldfish.

He maintained that was the reason but then told the prosecutor he did not wish to talk further about the 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 earlier accused of again making fun of the court when answering a question about his stay at the Campanile Hotel in Regent Road - near to the crime scene - the day after the shooting.

The jury has seen CCTV footage of Stapleton looking out of the hotel windows.

Mr Cummings asked him 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.

He denied he had brought along his "little audience" of friends to the tattoo shop in Swinton and was "showing off" to them as they laughed and joked.

"This was all about enjoying your status as a killer, was it not?" said Mr Cummings.

Stapleton said: "No."

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