'Manipulative' young man jailed for stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death after stalking her when they broke up

Joshua Stimpson was 'determined to punish her for ending the relationship', says judge

Wednesday 07 February 2018 19:38
CCTV shows Joshua Stimpson being arrested after murdering his ex-girlfriend

A warehouse worker who stabbed his ex-girlfriend more than 75 times in a shopping centre car park, has been jailed for life.

Jurors took less than four hours to convict Joshua Stimpson for the murder of 23-year-old Molly McLaren in Chatham, Kent, last year

Dressed in a dark suit and white shirt, the killer showed no emotion as Judge Adele Williams told him he may never be released from jail.

“This was a cruel, calculated and cowardly act," she said. "This was an act of wickedness. You took away Molly’s life quite deliberately in the most vicious fashion.

“You were determined to punish her for ending the relationship with you. You were seeking revenge. Her family’s grief and anguish is raw and apparent for everyone to see.”

She said the 26-year-old had shown no remorse for killing Ms McLaren, adding: “I am sure you are not suffering from a personality disorder. You planned this killing.

“You are a highly dangerous young man and you will pose a very considerable risk to women for a very considerable period in the future.”

Ms McLaren’s family, sat in a packed public gallery at Maidstone Crown Court, cried as the sentence – life in prison with a minimum term of 26 years – was read out.

As Stimpson was led to the cells, one of her relatives shouted: “Go on, you bastard.”

The university student dated Stimpson, of Wouldham near Rochester, for seven months after they met on Tinder.

But when she ended their relationship he stalked her and posted derogatory messages on Facebook falsely claiming she had taken cocaine, so she reported him to police.

It emerged during the trial that another woman had reported Stimpson to police after dating him in 2013.

Stimpson carried out the frenzied attack with a kitchen knife as Ms McLaren sat in her car outside the Dockside retail outlet less than two weeks after she broke up with him, in June 2017.

Kent Police reported itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, now known as the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), after Ms McLaren’s death.

A spokesman said: “Following careful assessment it was determined that this matter could be investigated by Kent Police’s professional standards department.”

The force said the inquiry would be finalised once criminal proceedings were concluded.

Ms McClaren sent a WhatsApp message to friends just moments before before she was attacked that said she was “looking over my shoulder all the time”.

Stimpson, who she previously described as “manipulative”, had followed Ms McLaren from a nearby gym where he had tried to exercise next to her, the court was told earlier.

When police officers arrived at the car park he walked towards them and said, “You want me”, prosecutors said.

CCTV shows how man followed his ex-girlfriend into the gym on the day he murdered her

Before standing trial he pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility but denied murder.

Ms McLaren’s family have now called for more to be done to raise awareness of the dangers of stalking.

Reading a statement on behalf of the family, acting detective inspector Alistair Worton said: “We feel there needs to be more awareness over the dangers of stalking and the need for people to report any concerns that they may have to the police.

“The verdict has brought us a small measure of comfort. But it seems nothing will take away the pain or allow us to come to terms with our Molly being taken from us. We are serving a lifetime of pain, anguish and loss.

“A light has gone out in our hearts but shines bright as a star forever above us. We love you Molly.”

Additional reporting by PA