Anuj Bidve killer's appeal dismissed in UK

London, Nov 22 (IANS) An attempt by a Briton who killed Indian student Anuj Bidve in an unprovoked attack in Greater Manchester on Boxing Day last year to have his life sentence reduced has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Kiaran Stapleton, 21, who shot dead Bidve from point blank range in Salford was sentenced to a life in prison after a trial in the Manchester Crown Court in July. He was ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years in jail before being considered for parole.

Stapleton filed an appeal to have the sentence reduced, but the Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed it and upheld the original sentence. Bidve was a postgraduate student of Microelctronics at Lancaster University.

Bidve's sensational killing hit the headlines in the UK and India and led to concerns about the safety of Indian students coming to study here. Bidve's parents had travelled from Pune to attended the trial in Manchester.

Welcoming the dismissal of Stapleton's appeal, senior Indian−origin Labour MP Keith Vaz said: I am delighted that the High Court judges have dismissed Kiaran Stapleton's appeal and upheld his original sentence".

He added: "I have been in close contact with Mr and Mrs Bidve since the tragic murder of their son Anuj. The past year has been a living nightmare for them and they were dismayed at Mr Stapleton's decision to appeal. I hope this verdict will bring some closure to the Bidve family who will finally be able to get their life back together. Justice has been done."

Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle of the Greater Manchester Police, 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".

She added: "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".

Noting that Bidve's parents had undergone a very difficult time, Doyle said: "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".

She added: "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."

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