Mother reveals moment she locks eyes with man who killed her daughter

Murdered Molly McLaren’s tearful mother recalls the moment she finally locked eyes with her daughter’s killer ex-boyfriend on the final day of his trial – saying he was ‘cold, callous being’

  • Joshua Stimpson brutally murdered Molly McLaren, 23, in Chatham in 2017
  • They had met on Tinder and hid his controlling ways for month before he turned 
  • Court heard Stimpson tailed Molly before slitting her throat in ‘frenzied attack’ 
  • Her mother Joanne McLaren has revealed he didn’t look at her throughout trial 
  • Said she finally locked eyes with her daughter’s murderer and saw ‘nothing’ 
  • Her mother appears in Murdered by my ex: The killing on Molly McLaren tonight

A mother whose daughter was stabbed 75 times in a frenzied attack by her stalker ex-boyfriend has reveals, in a Channel 5 documentary tonight, the moment she locked eyes with him during his trial. 

Joshua Stimpson, from Wouldham, was jailed for life for the vicious murder of Molly McLaren in Chatham, Kent in 2017. He stabbed her 75 times after following her to the gym. 

Molly, 23, told friends she was ‘always looking over her shoulder’ after growing increasingly worried about Joshua following her and posting menacing messages on social media. 

In tonight’s documentary, Murdered by my ex: The killing of Molly McLaren, her mother reveals that Stimpson didn’t look at her for the entirety of his trial.

She says: ‘He would not look at me. Until the last day, when I finally got my wish and he made eye contact.’

A mother whose daughter was stabbed 75 times in a frenzied attack by her stalker ex-boyfriend has reveals, in a Channel 5 documentary tonight, the moment she locked eyes with him during his trial

Joshua Stimpson murdered Molly McLaren (pictured together) in a frenzied attack in which he stabbed her 75 times in a gym car park 

Joanne and Doug McLaren, left, were left devastated when their daughter Molly was murdered by Stimpson 

She emotionally continued: ‘And there was nothing there. Just a cold callous being, showed no remorse. He was pathetic.’ 

In a flurry of WhatsApp messages before she died, Molly’s friend Amy Lee told her not to communicate with Stimpson after he turned up at the gym where she was working out.

She warned her to ‘be careful’ adding: ‘Who knows what,’ moments before Stimpson followed Molly out of the gym and stabbed her as she sat in her car, the court heard.

In the space of just three minutes, starting at 10.59am, the pair had exchanged 20 messages after Molly sent her an image of Stimpson exercising next to her. 

Miss McLaren was attacked in the driver’s seat of her Citroen as she tried to leave the area

The night before she died, Molly posted this picture on Instagram ahead of a night out in the Ship and Trade pub – where Stimpson then turned up 


The following WhatsApp messages between Ms Lee and Molly were read to the court.

10.59am: Molly sent the photo of Stimpson with the words: ‘Wtf. He’s just turned up and come right next to me.’

Ms Lee: ‘Did you Snapchat that you were there?’

11am: Molly: ‘No. Literally haven’t put anything’.

Ms Lee: ‘No indication you could have been there at all? Last night and now today. Starting to look dodgy. He does know your routine though like you go early. Had he tried to speak to you?’ 

Molly explained his arrival was on video as she had to record herself exercising for her university sports course. 

Still 11am: Molly: ‘I asked him why he wasn’t at work and he said it was none of my business.’ 

Miss Lee: ‘Don’t speak to him.’

11.01: Molly: ‘I have left now.’

Miss Lee: ‘Don’t initiate any contact at all.’

Molly: ‘I won’t from now on.’ 

11.01am: Ms Lee repeated her request for Molly not to communicate with Stimpson and Molly assured her she would not.

11.02am: Ms Lee: ‘He has no sense of what is normal. He is a freak. Just stay away from him.’

Molly: ‘I feel like I am ******* looking over my shoulder all the time.’ 

Prosecutors said Molly also messaged her mother, who told her to come straight home.

In two more messages, that Molly did not read, Miss Lee said: ‘You posted where you were last night and now he turned up. Just be careful. Who knows what. Has he always been a member of your gym?’ 

11.09am: Joshua Stimpson was standing by Molly’s car, his white gym vest heavily bloodstained, and was arrested by police.

She then left Pure Gym at the Chatham Dockside Outlet in Kent at 11.01am, still on her phone, and was attacked as she sat in her Citroen C2 parked nearby.

It is alleged Stimpson had been following Molly as he ‘carefully considered when to execute her’, prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said.

Having tailed her around the car park in his father’s Peugeot, he parked in an adjacent aisle, went to Molly’s car and yanked open her driver’s door.

Molly screamed as he landed a flurry of blows with the paring knife he had bought two days earlier in a local Asda.  

The court heard they had met through Tinder and relatives in the Channel 5 documentary said Molly had been chatting to him for three months before they met up.

But her mother Joanne said she initially had reservations when Molly – who had suffered from an eating disorder in the past – said her new boyfriend had bipolar disorder.

She relived the conversation, saying Molly had told her: ‘He suffers from bipolar but Mum please don’t judge.’

Joanne said she told her daughter: ‘But knowing that you have issues, do you really feel you’re able to take on someone elses issues?’

To which the kind personal trainer responded: ‘And she says, we might be good for each other and help each other out.’ 

Her family said that while he initially appeared ‘normal’, they all grew increasingly considered about his controlling behaviour.

They went on to date for seven months before Molly ended their relationship on June 17. 

In the 12 days before Stimpson killed her, he had twice been warned by police to remove slurs he had posted about Molly on social media.

In a statement to police, Amy Lee, who met Molly in 2013 when they worked at the Ted Baker store in Bluewater, Kent, said her friend had confided in her about the split.

Stimpson purchased a knife from Asda days before the frenzied attack on his ex-girlfriend, in which he stabbed her 75 times  

Amy said Molly was so angry about his derogatory Facebook posts that she had even told Stimpson he was a psychopath.

Molly also confided in Amy that she was scared.

On the morning of her alleged murder, Molly had walked a friend’s dog before heading for her workout. Stimpson arrived within minutes and began exercising next to her. 

From meeting on Tinder to murder: How Joshua Stimpson grew obsessed with Molly McLaren after couple split

July 2016 – Molly McLaren, from Cobham in Kent, and Joshua Stimpson, from nearby Wouldham, meet on Tinder and start talking.

November – The pair meet in person for the first time.

March 2017 – They spend time apart after Ms McLaren decides she wants to end their relationship.

Stimpson was pictured buying a knife as he planned the horrific knife attack

June 17 – Ms McLaren tells Stimpson their relationship is over during a night out in Maidstone.

June 19 – A relative tells Ms McLaren Stimpson has been posting derogatory messages about her on Facebook claiming she has been taking drugs.

June 20 – Ms McLaren applies for a job as a receptionist at Nuffield Gym in Medway Valley Park.

June 21 – Ms McLaren tells a friend in a WhatsApp message that she is scared of Stimpson.

June 22 – Ms McLaren and her mother Joanne go to North Kent Police Station to report the messages. An officer calls Stimpson in their presence and tells him to stop or risk prosecution.

June 27 – Stimpson joins the same gym where Ms McLaren applied to work.

– He is spoken to for a second time by police when the messages continue.

– At 5pm he buys a Sabatier paring knife from Asda in Chatham. He buys a Saxon pickaxe from the nearby Homebase 24 minutes later.

June 28 – Ms McLaren posts a selfie on Instagram about her plans for a night out before going to the Ship and Trades pub in Chatham. Stimpson is spotted staring at her and her friends from the smoking area.

Stimpson followed Miss McLaren to a pub after she posted this picture on Instagram saying where she was going

June 29 – 10.06am. Ms McLaren arrives at the Dockside retail outlet in Chatham for a workout at PureGym.

– 10.25am. Stimpson arrives and enters the same workout studio as Ms McLaren, placing his mat near to hers. CCTV shows him pacing up and down the stairs before going into the studio.

– 10.45am. Ms McLaren texts her mother and says: ‘Mum he’s turned up at the gym and come next to me.’

– 10.54am. She calls her mother and is told to go straight home and drive safely.

– 10.57am. Stimpson leaves the gym. Ms McLaren leaves three minutes later.

– 11.02am. In her last ever message, Ms McLaren tells friends on WhatsApp: ‘Feel like I’m f****** looking over my shoulder all the time.’

– 11.03am. Witnesses dial 999 as Stimpson yanks the door of the university student’s car open and launches into the frenzied attack while she is inside. Passerby Benjamin Morton tries to stop him but Stimpson continues, stabbing her more than 75 times with the kitchen knife he bought just days before.

– He is arrested moments later when police find him pacing up and down by the car covered in blood. The knife and pickaxe are seized from his car.

– He replies ‘no comment’ when interviewed by police.

June 30 – Stimpson is charged with murder.

January 23, 2018 – Stimpson stands trial at Maidstone Crown Court after admitting manslaughter by diminished responsibility but denying murder.

February 6 – A jury unanimously finds Stimpson guilty of murder. 

Separate footage shows the moments after the attack, when Stimpson was arrested, his gym clothes now stained with blood and told to put his hands on the bonnet of a police car

Benjamin Morton bravely tried to pull Stimpson off his victim and even slammed his leg in the car door to stop him. But Stimpson moved inside the car and continued the attack, the court heard yesterday.

Mr Morton later told police Stimpson was ‘continuously’ stabbing her in the head and neck, adding: ‘It was like a frenzy, he was doing it again and again’.      

The previous evening Stimpson had also paid a visit to a nearby bar where his 23-year-old ex was with friends.

Prosecutors believe Stimpson had been monitoring Miss McLaren’s social media posts in order to pinpoint her location and stalk her.

The court heard Stimpson had been following Molly as he ‘carefully considered when to execute her’

In messages to a relative, she said he was ‘manipulative and turning nasty’, adding: ‘I am actually scared about what he might do. I’m scared he might hurt me. I don’t know how on edge he is.’

Miss McLaren had twice contacted police about her ex’s behaviour, the second time less than a week before her death, but he ignored officers’ warnings to leave her alone.

They were cries of ‘Yes’ from Miss McLaren’s relatives as a jury rejected his claims of diminished responsibility due to bipolar disorder and convicted him of murder in January 2018. 

Judge Adele Williams branded Stimpson’s crime ‘cruel, calculated and cowardly’ as she jailed him for life and ordered he serve at least 26 years behind bars.

As 26-year-old Stimpson was led to the cells, someone in the public gallery shouted: ‘Go on, you b******.’

Joanne (pictured) revealed her daughter asked her not to judge her new boyfriend because of his bipolar disorder 

Molly’s parents Doug and Joanne have sat through the often disturbing trial with their family and Mrs McLaren was in court to hear the verdict today.

Sentencing Stimpson, Judge Williams told him: ‘This was a cruel, calculated and cowardly act. 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.

‘She was 23-years-old, beautiful and intelligent. Her family’s grief and anguish is raw and apparent for everyone to see.

Molly had confided in her mother that she was scared of Josh, sending them messages just moments before she died 

‘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.’

Miss McLaren’s mother, Joanne, told the court via a statement that her daughter was ‘increasingly anxious’ about a series of derogatory comments Stimpson had posted online, including the false claim that she was taking cocaine.

In one post, Stimpson had simply written: ‘There’s more to come.’ 

Stimpson followed Molly to a local gym where she worked, despite being warned by police to stay away from his ex-girlfriend. Moments after this, he stabbed her to death in the car park 

She wrote: ‘I just feel completely numb and broken. It doesn’t feel real.’

Speaking after the verdicts last February, senior investigating officer Detective Sergeant Ali Worton paid tribute to Miss McLaren’s family.

DS Worton said: ‘Molly was a popular and ambitious young woman with her whole life ahead of her but this was stolen by Stimpson in the most brutal way imaginable.

The pair met through Tinder and been dating for seven months before Molly ended their relationship on June 17

‘He has proven to be an extremely dangerous individual and needs to spend a lengthy period of time in prison where he can cause no further harm to innocent people.

‘It was clear to the jury and us that Molly’s death was pre-planned and that Stimpson is a cold and calculated killer rather than somebody who does not have the mental capacity to control himself.

‘By denying murder and failing to accept responsibility for his actions, he forced Molly’s family and friends to suffer even further distress through the tough ordeal of a crown court trial.

‘I would like to pay tribute to Molly’s family for the strength and dignity they have shown throughout and I hope this result is of some comfort.’

Stimpson denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, claiming he had a ‘borderline personality disorder’ after his parents split up when he was young.

Consultant Dr Shahid Majid said Stimpson had a ‘hypersensitivity to any rejection’ after his parents separated and, when his relationship with Miss McLaren ended, he switched to trying to ‘control, frighten and harm her’.

Police arrived on the scene to find Miss McLaren very seriously injured. A witness had tried to stop the attack

But prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC argued that Stimpson had ‘carefully considered the execution of Molly’ and his actions before her death showed he was ‘following her movements, waiting for the moment that he has chosen to kill her’.

Two previous girlfriends of Stimpson told how he stalked them after they split from him.

Alexandra Dale said he would follow her and take pictures of her, asking why she was wearing certain clothes. He also sent her a photo of her back garden and threatened to drown her on holiday.

Another of his ex-girlfriends, Leah Hubbard, said he spat drink all over her in a nightclub after they split, then waited outside for hours for her to leave. 

On 6th February 2018 Stimpson was sentenced to life in prison and will not be considered for parole for 26 years.  

Murdered by my ex: The killing on Molly McLaren is on at 9pm on 5Star tonight 

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