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Kiaran Stapleton fails in reduction of 30yr sentence

November 22, 2012, 5:14 pm

The man convicted of the murder of Anuj Bidve has failed in his attempt to have his sentence reduced.

Kiaran Stapleton, 21, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve in Salford on Boxing Day 2011. He was ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years before he is even eligible for parole.

Stapleton appealed against the length of his sentence, but judges at the Court of Appeal yesterday, 21 November 2012, dismissed his appeal and upheld the original sentence.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle, who led the investigation, said: “At one point during his trial, Stapleton boasted that he did not care if he was locked up for 65 years because he enjoyed watching soaps in prison.

“But when the harsh reality of what a life in prison actually means hit home, Stapleton backtracked and tried to have his sentence reduced, putting Anuj’s family through yet more upset.

“However, I am delighted that the panel of judges sitting at the Court of Appeal have upheld the original sentence and that Stapleton will serve at least 30 years in prison before he can even apply for parole.

“We will never lose sight of what is most important and that is Anuj’s family. They had to suffer weeks of hearing very painful evidence about the night their son was so tragically and senselessly killed, and now they’ve had to endure yet another hearing. Nothing will ever bring Anuj back, but I hope that now Stapleton has failed in his bid to have his sentence reduced it will finally bring the family some sense of closure to what has been an extremely traumatic time for them.

“One of the dedicated family liaison officers who has provided support to Anuj’s family was present at court for the hearing and as soon as GMP was informed of the decision the FLO personally contacted the family immediately to relay the news.

“Greater Manchester Police will continue to support Anuj’s family, who as always have shown great dignity in the face of such adversity.”

Full Judgement:

Kieran Mark Stapleton
47. Stapleton (KS) was born in January 1991. On 26th July 2012 at the Crown Court at
Manchester before King J and a jury he was convicted of murder. He was sentenced
to life imprisonment and the minimum term was specified at 30 years.
48. The facts are simple, but stark. A young man, aged 23, a post-graduate at Lancaster
University, decided with his friends to spend the Christmas period in Manchester.
The students set off from their hotel on foot in the early hours of 26th December 2011
to travel to the City Centre to queue up for the Boxing Day sales. The victim of the
murder was Anuj Bidve, who happened at the fatal moment to be at the back of this
group. While walking in Salford they saw KS, together with a friend, walking on the
other side of the road. KS crossed the road and approached the group, and asked them
what the time was. One of them responded that it was 1.30.
49. Without any warning, KS produced a silver gun and shot Mr Bidve from very close
range in the head. Before he produced the gun there had been no threats or abuse,
indeed nothing which might trigger off even the most minor altercation. He then
laughed or smiled before running off with his friend. Mr Bidve was rushed to
hospital, but was pronounced dead. The cause of death was extensive brain injury.
50. Earlier in the evening KS had threatened to kill someone who had insulted his former
girlfriend, and he had been complaining that he had had a terrible year, during which
he had lost his relationship, his house and his driving licence.
51. After the killing KS went to stay in Wigan, but he returned to Salford on 27th
December, booking in to a hotel which was a short distance from the crime scene. On
the following day, he arranged for a teardrop to be tattooed onto his cheek which,
among other things, can signify and in this case was undoubtedly intended to signify
that the person with such a tattoo has killed someone, and his pride in doing so. He
was arrested on 29th December. When he did speak, he was flippant. When he
appeared at court, and was asked his name, he gave it as “Psycho Stapleton”, and
when he saw a friend in the public gallery he shouted out that “Ryan (that is the friend
who was walking with him at the time of the killing) had made a statement.”
52. A psychological report from Dr Sonya Krljes dated 17th May 2012 was served on
KS behalf. It was said that he was suffering from an anti-social personality disorder,
characterised by anti-social and psychopathic traits, likely to have a neuro-biological
underpinning, which would affect his ability to empathise with others.
53. A psychiatric report from Dr Nigel Eastman dated 2 June 2012 supported the
conclusion that KS exhibited a severe personality disorder, satisfying the criteria for Judgment Approved by the court for handing down. R – v – David Oakes and Others
ASPD, and within that, psychopathy. He could not normally experience empathy, and
would be likely to be abnormally sensitive to the behaviour of others. Dr Eastman
believed that KS was fit to plead. In relation to diminished responsibility the question
for decision was whether on the instant occasion, KS capacities had been so affected
by his personality disorder that his ability to exercise self-control was substantially
impaired. In the context of the present case, if the group of students had ignored him
as they walked down the road in opposite directions, his severe personality disorder
may have read this as provocative.
54. Dr John McKenna provided a psychological report dated 12th June 2012. He agreed
with Dr Krljes that KS showed no emotional response and had poor reflective
capacity. However as to events at the time of the killing, KSs own account was that
his disposition and circumstances were unremarkable, and he specifically denied that
he was in a negative frame of mind or that he had been provoked. Dr McKenna
agreed that KS had a severe personality disorder, but his condition did not meet the
criteria for psychopathic disorder. There were good clinical grounds to suggest that
KS was capable of behaving impulsively and with reduced self-control, but he had in
the past demonstrated both impulsive “defensive” aggression (a reference to a road
rage incident) and “appetite aggression” (a reference to an assault on a fellow
prisoner) which involved a degree of planning. This second incident represented
controlled aggression or “considered purposeful violence”. As to the possibility that
he may have experienced “slow burn” provocation he had himself denied the account
given by his companion about his earlier state of mind. He maintained that he had felt
quite normal, and his own account of his mental state at the relevant time was sparse,
and did not include any awareness of feeling irritated or provoked. He was fit to
55. The final psychological report, from Dr Adrian West, was dated 18th June 2012. He
agreed with Dr McKenna that KS had an anti-social personality disorder, with
psychopathic traits, falling short of psychopathy. He also agreed with the analysis of
the road rage incident as “defensive aggression” and the prison attack as “predatory
aggression”. The present incident was another such incident. The facts indicated that
KS may have had a generalised and pre-meditated murderous intent. Dr West
disagreed with both Dr Eastman and Dr Krljes. The psychopathic traits had not
impaired KS ability to understand that he was in possession of the gun and had lethal
means to kill someone. The attack was carried out purposefully, with considerable
cognitive motor effort and accuracy. KS himself denied any earlier upset or
humiliation, and he had carried out the shooting in full conscious awareness and with
56. Passing sentence at the end of the trial King J considered the evidence of KS antisocial personality, but concluded that the disorder did not lower his culpability for this
offence. The judge acknowledged the evidence of his disturbed background and
disjointed education, and the fact that he lacked full maturity, given that he was 20
years old when the offence was committed. As against this mitigation there was
significant pre-meditation, although this was not personally directed at the victim, the
killing had taken place on a public highway, and KS was already on bail awaiting
sentence following a road rage incident the previous year. Judgment Approved by the court for handing down. R – v – David Oakes and Others
57. The judge described the killing as a “cold-blooded murder” committed in the most
harrowing circumstances. He was satisfied that notwithstanding KS evidence at trial,
he knew perfectly well that the gun was loaded, and he had left a party intending to
find a victim to satisfy his desire to shoot and kill someone. Although the choice of
victim was entirely random, there was a significant degree of pre-meditation and he
was sure that KS intention was to kill and that at all material times he was fully in
control of his actions. This was cold-blooded controlled aggression. He had shown
not the slightest remorse. He had laughed and smirked as he ran off after the killing,
and indeed during the trial. The tattoo and what he said at the Magistrates Court
amounted to boasting of the murder.
58. The submission in support of the contention that the minimum term was excessive
involves criticism of the judge for taking into account two features of aggravation,
first that the killing occurred in a public place, and second that the killing involved an
element of planning beyond that involved in the premeditation involved in carrying a
loaded firearm. It is also suggested that the judge failed to attach sufficient
importance to the mitigation provided by the defendants relative youth and the
medical condition, which was examined in close detail during the trial.
59. It is clear from his sentencing remarks that the judge was acutely aware of KS age
and his personality disorder, and he was also aware that he had only recently been
bailed in connection with another offence. It takes very little imagination to reflect on
the impact that this offence would have had in the locality; a young man, utterly
blameless, simply gunned down as he walked down the street, and perhaps the most
chilling feature of all was the sheer randomness with which he was chosen to be the
victim. KS had decided that he was going to kill someone, and he organised a loaded
firearm, carried it, and executed his plan. His attitude to the offence is chilling. He
has revelled in it. That adds significantly to the seriousness of this crime.
60. There is no reason to interfere with this sentence.

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