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By Keith Hunt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: 11:40, 31 January 2018
The trial in the case of Joshua Stimpson, accused of the murder of his former girlfriend Molly McLaren, is hearing evidence from a mental health nurse who interviewed him in the aftermath of the attack.
Stimpson, 26, of High Street, Wouldham, is accused of murdering Molly at the Dockside Outlet Centre in Chatham on June 29 last year.
The prosecution allege Stimpson stalked Molly, 23, from Cobham, after she ended their relationship. He then repeatedly stabbed her in the car park of the shopping centre, after she left PureGym.
Molly McLaren died at the scene
Earlier, the jury at Maidstone Crown Court has heard Stimpson told a mental health nurse he felt upset because he did not want the relationship to end.
Asked if he had been having thoughts to harm Molly, he replied: “Maybe yesterday but I didn’t act on them.”
Asked if he was having difficulties with his thoughts, he said: “I must have or I wouldn’t have done this.”
Community psychiatric nurse Jackie Ribbens said she assessed Stimpson at North Kent police station after his arrest and hospital treatment for injuries to his hand.
He stated he had recently taken time off work from a double glazing company because he was feeling depressed and having difficulty concentrating.
He denied taking drugs or drinking alcohol prior to arrest.
Stimpson told of being diagnosed with being bipolar by a mental health team about four years before.
He took medication that helped to stabilise his moods.
He said he stopped taking the drug because he felt he did not need it any more. He could not say when he stopped taking it.
Molly McLaren died in the car park of the Dockside Shopping Outlet in Chatham
Ms Ribbens said Stimpson told how Molly ended the relationship about a week before because she was feeling anxious and wanted to spend more time alone and concentrating on her welfare.
He went to work on June 28 but left early because he felt “low in mood”.
He went to a pub that evening with a female friend where he saw Molly, but they ignored each other.
The next morning he went to the gym at the Dockside outlet.
Ms Ribbens said she did not question Stimpson about what happened afterwards as he had not yet been interviewed by police.
After admitting he had thoughts of harming Molly he declined to discuss it further.
When the nurse saw him again the next day he still had dried blood on his face, hair and beard.
“He was quietly spoken but the content was relevant and coherent,” said Ms Ribbens. “He was able to follow the conversation.
“His speech was normal although sometimes slow to respond. He remained looking ahead at the wall.
“He gave very little eye contact. He was vague at times and often answered ‘I don’t know.’
“He was perhaps in shock and trying to process trauma. He was quite withdrawn. He sounded quite flat.”
Stimpson denied having any “mania type symptoms”.
He had taken an overdose of paracetamol some time ago. His brother found him and called an ambulance. He was treated in hospital.
Stimpson said he felt paranoid at times that people were looking at him. He did not feel people were out to get him or harm him.
“He said during the attack there was something in his head telling him to do it,” Miss Ribbens told the jury. “He stated it was more a thought than voices.
“He denied hearing voices and didn’t appear guarded, distracted or suspicious.
“About three years ago he thought he heard a voice calling his name but there was no one present.”
Asked if there were any overt symptoms of psychosis, Ms Ribbens said: “There was no evidence of any acute mood disorder such as mania or severe depression.”
The jury was shown CCTV footage of Molly’s last movements before the fatal attack.
Both she and Stimpson were seen at PureGym. Stimpson arrived after Molly. He left first and Molly followed after a short while.
Det Con Richard Dorey said it was believed Molly was on her phone from the time she left the gym to the time she got to her car.
Stimpson stops his car as she crosses the car park. He reverses slightly and then remains stationary for 19 seconds before moving off. He turns right and then goes out of view of the cameras.
A police car then arrives. Stimpson in a blood-spattered T-shirt walks forward. An officer asks: “Have you got anything on you?” He replies: “No.” He is asked his name and he answers: “Josh.”
PC Helen Cole said after she and another officer arrived at the Dockside outlet, she saw Stimpson walking towards a police car with his arms out.
“He had blood on his clothing and body,” she said. “He was asked to put his hands on the car bonnet. He had bleeding to both hands.
“I received information a female was likely to have died. At 11.10am I said: ‘I am arresting you on suspicion of murder.’ He made no reply.”
“He turned and stood facing me. I noticed there was a hand print on the left hand side of his face” – PC Helen Cole
PC Cole said cloths were put on Stimpson’s hands to try to stop the bleeding.
“He seemed to be in shock, staring directly ahead and seemed to be spaced out,” said the officer. “He was taken into custody. The wounds on his hands were bleeding again.
“He turned and stood facing me. I noticed there was a hand print on the left hand side of his face. His wounds were bandaged by the nurse.”
Stimpson was taken to Darent Valley Hospital to be given treatment for the injuries to his hands.
The court heard Stimpson was chosen from 40 applicants for a job as operations assistant at double glazing company Window Plan in Strood.
Owner Tony Coulson said in a statement first impressions were that Stimpson was “a good quality candidate” and he “stood out a mile” in his interview. He started work on May 15 last year.
“Overall, I was happy and impressed with him,” said Mr Coulson. “I have only positive things to say about him.”
But he went on holiday and then failed to show up for work. When he did arrive he was in a state and could not control his limbs. It was then revealed he was bipolar.
On June 20, Mr Coulson received an email from Stimpson telling him he had seen a doctor and been prescribed medication. He stressed he really wanted the job.
He added: “I know this is an awful start but this is the worst I have been for years. I am hoping the medication will take effect in the next few days.”
Molly McLaren wrote a blog after battling with anxiety and an eating disorder
On June 22, he arrived at work in an agitated state. “He clearly had some issues that needed addressing,” said Mr Coulson. “We also had a business to run.”
On June 28, Mr Coulson said he received a phone call saying Stimpson was in a bad way. He then asked if he could go part-time.
“I agreed to it,” he continued. “He told me he was under the mental health team. I asked about support at home. He said his parents knew what was going on.
“I reiterated that things would get better. I said to have the next day off, June 29. I said: ‘Come back in on June 30 and see how things are.’
On Thursday, June 29 I was out when I heard someone had been attacked in Chatham. I heard more reports throughout the day.”
Joshua Stimpson buying the knife at Asda in Chatham
The jury heard a knife Stimpson had been given for use at work went missing from the toolbox. It was found on the passenger seat of his car after the attack, along with a pickaxe.
The knife Stimpson used to kill Molly was bought from Asda in Chatham for £8. It was recovered from the driver’s seat of Molly’s car after she was attacked. The plastic covering from the knife was found on Stimpson’s bedroom floor.
Stimpson admits manslaughter, claiming diminished responsibility, but denies murder.
The trial continues.
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‘Manipulative’ young man jailed for stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death after stalking her when they broke up — (The Independent)
Staff and agencies
Joshua Stimpson was ‘determined to punish her for ending the relationship’, says judge.
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.
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.”