London: An unrepentant Kiaran 'Psycho' Stapleton was today sentenced to a minimum 30 years in jail for the cold-blooded killing of 23-year-old Indian student Anuj Bidve that caused outrage in India and the UK.
Stapleton today entered the Manchester Crown Court smiling and beamed again towards a member of the Bidve family as he was led away after the sentencing.
The 21-year-old Briton, who was yesterday found guilty of murdering Bidve on December 26, has been jailed for a minimum of 30 years before being considered for parole, following a five-week trial.
Judge Timothy King told Stapleton, who showed no emotion: "Only then will you be released if you are deemed not to be a risk to the public."
King added: "In my judgement, this was no impulsive act on your part. It was a piece of cold-blooded controlled aggression."
He said Stapleton had showed a "most callous disregard" in laughing and smirking after he gunned down Bidve and also during the trial.
"You have behaved in a way demonstrating that you are positively boastful about having killed Mr Bidve," he said.
The judge said Stapleton - who in his first court appearance told magistrates his name was "Psycho Stapleton" - had committed a "truly wicked act" and was a "highly dangerous man" who posed a high risk of serious harm to other people.
After the jury's "guilty" verdict yesterday, Bidve's parents Subhash and Yogini Bidve, who attended the trial, last night went back to the scene of crime, prayed and placed a bouquet of flowers.
They are scheduled to return to Pune later today.
Shubhash Bidve said yesterday that Stapleton had "openly laughed at the memory of our son", and that he believed Stapleton should never be released from prison.
Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West Area, said: "Anuj Bidve's murder in the early hours of Boxing Day last year was a terrible crime which shocked and appalled us all. It is all the more tragic because it was completely senseless".
He said Anuj had his whole life ahead of him and was young and bright, a talented student who was enjoying his time at Lancaster University.
"Kiaran Stapleton shot Anuj, an innocent and defenceless man, at close range without warning or provocation. It was a cowardly murder, and his reaction afterwards in trying to cover his tracks, hide from police and evade justice was also cowardly.
"Since the moment that he killed Anuj, and throughout this trial, he has shown no trace of remorse and no concern for the pain his family are going through.
"Two days after the murder, he even went to a tattoo shop and got a teardrop tattoo. It was a sign we say that he was boasting about the murder, that he thought it gave him some sort of notoriety," he said.
The Prosecutor said that only when Stapleton realised that the evidence against him was overwhelming did he plead guilty to manslaughter, admitting that he pulled the trigger but claiming that at the time of the killing his responsibility for his actions was diminished.
"The prosecution case has always been that Kiaran Stapleton knew exactly what he was doing at the time of the shooting and in the days afterwards. All the evidence supported that, and for that reason we refused to accept his plea to manslaughter and pursued a trial for murder," he said.
Soon after the verdict yesterday, Bidve's parents said their son had come to UK in September 2011 and he carried with him the "hopes and dreams of all our family".
"Instead, in the early hours of Boxing Day morning, Stapleton, cold bloodedly and brutally murdered our son. Stapleton had never met our son and did not know anything about him," they had said in a statement.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle today said: "Anuj's family have got the verdict they deserved. I have spoken to the family and while they remain grief stricken that nothing can bring Anuj back, they are very pleased Stapleton will not even be eligible for parole until he is in his fifties".
Doyle said the judge labelled Stapleton's actions a truly wicked act and that is exactly what it was.
"On behalf of myself and all my team, I would like to pay tribute to the dignity that Anuj's family have shown. They have had to sit through five weeks of harrowing evidence but at least today they have seen justice done.
"Our thoughts remain with Anujs family as they fly back to India and try to rebuild their lives after the senseless loss of their son," the statement said.
Story first published:
July 27, 2012 16:50 IST