Warehouse worker jailed for minimum of 26 years for murder of ex-girlfriend in shopping centre car park

A warehouse worker has been jailed for at least 26 years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend in a shopping centre car park.

Joshua Stimpson, 26, was found guilty of murdering 23-year-old Molly McLaren by stabbing her more than 75 times.

Sentencing Stimpson following his conviction by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Adele Williams told him he may never be released, saying: “This was a cruel, calculated and cowardly act. This was an act of wickedness.

“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.”

Stimpson had pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility but denied murder.

<em>Murdered – Molly McLaren was stabbed more than 75 times by ex-boyfriend Joshua Stimpson (Picture: SWNS)</em>
Murdered – Molly McLaren was stabbed more than 75 times by ex-boyfriend Joshua Stimpson (Picture: SWNS)
<em>Break-up – Stimpson had started posting messages about Ms McLaren on Facebook five days after they broke up (Picture: PA)</em>
Break-up – Stimpson had started posting messages about Ms McLaren on Facebook five days after they broke up (Picture: PA)

Stimpson showed no emotion as the verdict – which took jurors less than four hours to reach – was read out, while members of Ms McLaren’s family gasped and burst into tears in the public gallery.

The warehouse worker had been warned twice by police officers to stay away from Ms McLaren before he stabbed her to death in Chatham, Kent, on June 29 last year.

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Five days after they broke up, he started posting messages on Facebook claiming she had been taking drugs, which Ms McLaren reported to Facebook.

When nothing happened, she and her mother Joanna went to North Kent Police Station, where a police officer called Stimpson on speakerphone, warning him to stop or face prosecution.

<em>Attack – Stimpson murdered his ex-girlfriend in a shopping centre car park in Chatham, Kent (Picture: PA)</em>
Attack – Stimpson murdered his ex-girlfriend in a shopping centre car park in Chatham, Kent (Picture: PA)
<em>Police – Stimpson had been spoken to by police twice before he murdered Ms McLaren (Picture: PA)</em>
Police – Stimpson had been spoken to by police twice before he murdered Ms McLaren (Picture: PA)

When the officer said: “We wouldn’t want Molly to come to the police station again about you, would we?”, Stimpson replied: “Wouldn’t we?”

The 26-year-old was spoken to by police for a second time just two days before he murdered Ms McLaren.

Alexandra Dale, who dated him in 2013, had also reported his behaviour towards her to police.

<em>Warned – police had warned Stimpson to stay away from Ms McLaren (Picture: SWNS)</em>
Warned – police had warned Stimpson to stay away from Ms McLaren (Picture: SWNS)
<em>Investigation – a probe by Kent Police’s professional standards department is underway (Picture: PA)</em>
Investigation – a probe by Kent Police’s professional standards department is underway (Picture: PA)

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 completed once criminal proceedings were concluded.

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