A university student was warned to stay away from her ex boyfriend just minutes before he slit her throat in a frenzied attack, a court heard today.
Molly McLaren, 23, told friends she was ‘always looking over her shoulder’ after growing increasingly worried about Joshua Stimpson following her and posting menacing messages on social media.
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.
Joshua Stimpson denies murdering Molly Stimpson (pictured together) but has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility
Miss McLaren was attacked in the driver’s seat of her Citroen as she tried to leave the area
The 23-year-old university student died from stab wounds in the car park of Chatham Dockside Outlet in Kent
MOLLY’S LAST TEXTS
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.’
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.
The previous evening Stimpson had also paid a visit to a nearby bar where his 23-year-old ex was with friends.
A murder jury heard today that Molly told Ms Lee in the chat that she felt like she was looking over her shoulder all the time.
But the message, sent at 11.02am on June 29 last year, was her final communication and she never read Ms Lee’s warning in response.
Referring to an Instagram selfie Molly had posted about her whereabouts the night before, Miss Lee said: ‘You posted last night where you were and he turned up.
‘Now today. Just be careful. Who knows what.’
Unaware of her friend’s tragic fate, Ms Lee continued messaging, asking: ‘Has he always been a member of your gym?’
Maidstone Crown Court in Kent was told that while Ms Lee’s final two messages were received by Molly’s phone, they were not read by her.
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.
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.
By 11.09am he was standing by her car, his white gym vest heavily bloodstained, and was arrested by police.
Stimpson, from Wouldham near Rochester in Kent, denies murder but has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The jury have seen this picture of the bloody kitchen knife used in the attack
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 (right)
The court heard Stimpson had been following Molly as he ‘carefully considered when to execute her’
The court heard they had met through Tinder and been dating 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, Ms 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.
Ms Lee said Molly was so angry about his derogatory Facebook posts that she had even told Stimpson he was a psychopath.
Molly also confided in Ms Lee 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.
Molly had confided in her mother and Ms Lee that she was scared of Stimpson
A friend of Stimpson told the court today he was in ‘high spirits’ after he split from Molly.
Callum Jordan met up with Stimpson on June 23 last year, six days before he killed Molly.
He told the court he knew from social media about the break-up and was surprised at his mood, knowing that he suffered from depression.
The pair met through Tinder and been dating for seven months before Molly ended their relationship on June 17
Asked how he demonstrated being in such good spirits, Mr Jordan told the jury: ‘I went expecting quite a downbeat, difficult conversation to be had and I came away surprised that it wasn’t hard work being with Josh that evening.
‘The conversation flowed fairly normally and laughs and jokes were had like any other 20-something lads at the pub.’
Mr Jordan said Stimpson also saw nothing wrong in his Facebook slurs about Molly, and had told him (Mr Jordan) that the best way of getting over Molly was to date someone else.
Another friend from Stimpson’s secondary school in Stoke on Trent also told police he was ‘normal Josh’ and did not notice any change in him.
During a visit to Kent to help Stimpson get over his split, Tejay Thomas said Stimpson also spoke about a new date, Samantha Fleming.
They had met on Tinder and Stimpson took her to the Ship and Trades the night before he killed Molly.
The court heard Molly was also there with friends, having posted on Instagram her plans for that evening.
Police arrived on the scene to find Miss McLaren very seriously injured. A witness had tried to stop the attack
Police were called after witnesses saw Miss McLaren being attacked in the busy car park
Mr Thomas told police Stimpson was ‘happy and upbeat’ when they spoke ahead of his date.
The court also heard from Jade Bossan, Mr Thomas’s girlfriend, that Stimpson did not appear to be struggling with the break-up from Molly.
She said news of his subsequent arrest just four days after she had last seen him was ‘a massive shock, totally out of the blue’.
Ms Fleming, giving evidence in court, said their plans for June 28 – their second date – were for Stimpson to cook her dinner.
But he texted her just after 5.15pm suggesting they had a drink at the Ship and Trades.
She told the court they were at the bar when Stimpson swore and she noticed Molly at the other end.
But she said Stimpson appeared ‘fine’ and they sat away from Molly and her friends.
Molly, however, was described as physically shaking when she told one of her group that Stimpson had given her ‘a creepy smile’.
The trial continues.
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