A forensic psychiatrist at the murder trial of an Indian student described how he experienced ‘concern’ while interviewing the gunman in prison, Manchester Crown court heard yesterday.
Kiaran Stapleton, 21, of Ordsall, Salford, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but denied murder.
Anuj Bidve, 23, was shot dead on December 26 last year in Salford.
Professor Nigel Eastman, a defence witness, said: “I had three officers outside, I’m long in the tooth but there was just something going on I was a bit concerned about at one point.”
He told the jury that Stapleton’s apparent lack of remorse was ‘unusual’.
“If I said I felt sorry I’d be lying,” said Stapleton in the four-hour-long interview from prison with Professor Eastman on May 17.
“Most defendants see an advantage in showing remorse, whether it’s true remorse or not. The other group that often don’t are psychotic,” said Professor Eastman.
Professor Eastman was responding to questions from defence barrister Simon Csoka QC.
When asked about shooting student Anuj Bidve on Boxing Day, the defendant had said: “It’s all Ryan’s fault. It was Ryan’s gun.”
Stapleton’s response to why he had raised the gun and killed Mr Bidve was described by the expert as a ‘very mechanical and concrete description’.
“It is not describing responsibility in a moral sense,” Professor Eastman added.
About the shooting Stapleton had told the psychiatrist: “I can’t remember pulling the trigger.
“I wasn’t aware what has happened.
“I wasn’t aware how severe it was, I was just running.”
The Anti-social Personality Disorder, which Stapleton was diagnosed with, is a recognised medical condition, the jury was told.
Asked to clarify whether this disorder inhibits the capacity to distinguish right from wrong, Professor Eastman said: “It does not inhibit their capacity to recognise right from wrong. It removes the normal conditions for doing what is wrong.”
According to Professor Eastman, people with this condition are ‘likely’ to have differences in their brain when compared to ‘normal people’, but that such abnormalities were measured through psychological rather than medical tests.
“The defendant did not display the ability to think about emotions,” he said.
“He demonstrates a very substantial lack of ability to feel what other people feel. I don’t think he has any real feeling for what he has done.”
Professor Eastman testified that in an earlier interview, Stapleton’s parents had told him: “He was very, very different from the other children.”
He said that when Stapleton was asked about his relationship with his mother, the defendant had said he would see her ‘virtually every day’: “I would go there and walk about.”
The psychiatrist told the jury that this was odd and showed that the defendant had difficulty interacting with even close family members and described him as living ‘in a bubble on his own’.
He said he believed that Stapleton was able to cope with his job at a factory because he used to work at night with only two employees around him.
The trial continues today.