Gunman Kiaran Stapleton hid in a Salford hotel and joked that police would not find him one day after killing Anuj Bidve, Manchester Crown Court heard today.
The 21-year-old – who described himself as ‘Psycho Stapleton’ – checked into the Campanile Hotel just hours after the Indian student was shot dead in Ordsall on Boxing Day.
While there, Stapleton joked with his friend Ryan Holden who was with him on the night of the shooting – and is now a key prosecution witness – on Blackberry Messenger.
In one exchange, Holden said to him: "You are off it. They won't find you there innit."
Stapleton replied: "I hope they don't lol.
"I wish I had more money to base myself there two days or summat."
Stapleton wandered in and out of his room to buy beer and vodka and then four friends visited his room in the evening.
Later, Stapleton messaged Holden: "Just on my way back and three armed jeeps at Sainsbos."
"They see you?" asked Holden.
"I was on my bike, man," he said.
Holden later told the defendant he thought police were outside his house and said he would delete his number and at about 1.35am the next day Holden was arrested by armed police at his Salford home.
CCTV cameras at the hotel captured Stapleton coming down for breakfast and reading a newspaper.
Stapleton took several pictures of himself on his phone – one showed him wearing just a bathrobe sitting on his hotel bed and smiling.
The court heard how armed officers captured Stapleton at around 1.30am on December 29 in a house in Rugby Road, Leigh, Greater Manchester.
When told he was being arrested on suspicion of murder, he said: "F***ing hell, getting woken up like that.
"Did you say suspicion? You are just pulling in everyone from the area. I have a got a job, me. I work nights, I was in the area."