Student ‘stabbed to death by Tinder date’ despite reporting fears to police
Molly McLaren, 23, sent a WhatsApp message to friends expressing fears for her safety after she broke up with Joshua Stimpson, 26, who she had met through the Tinder app.
The blood-soaked man was arrested in the parking lot at the Dockside retail outlet in Chatham, Kent, on June 29, 2017, jurors were told. McLaren was found dead in her nearby car, shortly after she sent a text to her friends which read: “[I] feel like I’m f****** looking over my shoulder all the time.”
Stimpson, who dated McLaren for seven months, admits manslaughter but denies murder, arguing diminished responsibility. The pair had broken up two weeks before McLaren was killed in a stabbing frenzy with a kitchen knife.
Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting, said: “There is no dispute that he killed Molly McLaren. In certain circumstances the charge of murder can be reduced to manslaughter. In this case the defense will assert that it should be.
“[His] plea is on the basis that at the time of the killing Joshua Stimpson was suffering from diminished responsibility. The prosecution does not accept that he was.”
Maidstone Crown Court heard this week the pair’s relationship became strained and McLaren admitted she was having a “dilemma.” She described Stimpson to friends as “childish” and said in a message to him: “It’s just pathetic. I just feel really pressured with you at the moment if I’m honest.”
Bennetts told jurors McLaren was frequently attempting to “put things right” and told friends she was “walking on eggshells.”
On the morning of the murder she went to work out at Pure Gym at the Dockside outlet but Stimpson arrived shortly after and put his exercise mat near hers. A worried McLaren called her mother and texted her friends before her mother told her to come straight home.
Bennetts told the court Kodie Jarvis had witnessed the attack, and said: “She parked the car. She saw Stimpson drive up. He got out of his car. He walked quickly towards Molly McLaren, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of her car.
“He yanked the door open. Molly started screaming. A man tried to pull Stimpson off. Stimpson, covered in blood, paced up and down the length of her car and then stood next to her car.”
Footage of Stimpson paying for a Sabatier paring knife in an Asda store in Chatham on June 27 was shown to the court. They were also told that thirty minutes later he bought a Saxon pickax from a Homebase outlet.
The court heard Stimpson was threatening McLaren and she told friends she was “scared of what he might do to me.” She said: “He’s literally lost the plot. I was worried he was going to turn up at my house. He knows my parents are going away for two weeks.”
McLaren contacted police at North Kent police station on June 22 and spoke with PC Philpott. The officer called Stimpson and said: “We wouldn’t want Molly to come to the police station again about you, would we?” Stimpson’s chilling reply was, “wouldn’t we?” Bennetts said.
Stimpson cried in the courtroom before listening to evidence on how he would post derogatory comments and photographs about McLaren on Facebook.
The trial, expected to last two weeks, continues.