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  1. ITV Report

Joshua Stimpson jailed for at least 26 years for murdering ex-girlfriend Molly McLaren in frenzied car park stabbing

A "highly-dangerous" man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend more than 75 times in a frenzied car park attack has been jailed for at least 26 years for murder.

Molly McLaren, 23, was attacked with a kitchen knife by Joshua Stimpson as she sat in her car outside the Dockside shopping centre in Chatham, Kent, on June 29 last year.

The pair met on Tinder and dated for seven months but university student Ms McLaren ended their relationship just under two weeks before her death.

When she did end their relationship, Stimpson stalked her and posted derogatory messages on Facebook falsely claiming she had taken cocaine, so she reported him to police.

Sentencing, Judge Adele Williams told 26-year-old Stimpson that he may never be released.

"This was a cruel, calculated and cowardly act," Judge Williams 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."

Molly McLaren was stabbed more than 75 times in the attack.

The judge said she thought Stimpson had "planned this killing", adding: "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 pleaded to manslaughter by diminished responsibility before the trial, but the jury of five women and seven men at Maidstone Crown Court took less than four hours to find him guilty of murder.

The warehouse worker, from Wouldham near Rochester, showed no emotion as the verdict was read out.

There were gasps from Ms McLaren's family, who burst into tears as they sat in the packed public gallery.

Speaking outside court, Ms McLaren's family called for more to be done to raise awareness of the dangers of stalking.

"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," acting detective inspector Alistair Worton said on the family's behalf.

He continued: "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."