A friend of Anuj Bidve, whose unprovoked murder by a white gunman last December sparked a wave of outrage, told a court on Tuesday that from the way the gunman behaved after shooting Bidve, he thought the gunman was playing a prank.

Kiaran Stapleton (21) — being tried for Bidve’s murder — laughed as he stood behind Bidve as he fell to the ground, said Sarang Kulkarni. Bidve was walking to the Manchester city centre with friends on Boxing Day when he was murdered.

Mr. Kulkarni said two men approached them and one — later identified as Stapleton — asked for the time.

“I said it was 1.30 a.m. and at that very moment I heard a loud bang like a small firecracker. I looked back over my left shoulder and I saw one of the girls screaming and running towards me. She had her hands over her ears. The rest of the group was just running away from the scene of the incident but at the same time we were all surprised because we had not expected anything,” he said giving evidence at the Manchester Crown.

Stapleton, who calls himself “Psycho Stapleton”, admits manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder

Another eyewitness, Nitish Jalali, said he did not realise Bidve had been shot until he saw him collapse to the ground.

The prosecution told the court that Stapleton “smirked or laughed” after shooting Bidve. It was also revealed that Stapleton had a teardrop tattooed on his face “signifying” that he had killed someone.

Bidve (23), from Pune, was a postgraduate student at Lancaster University. His parents are attending the trial.

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