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Joshua Stimpson appears in court over Molly McLaren's alleged murder at Chatham Dockside

By KentOnline reporter

The ex-boyfriend of a young university student stabbed to death in a shopping centre car park has appeared in court.

Joshua Stimpson, 25, was expected to enter his plea to the charge of murdering university student Molly McLaren in her Citroen C1 car, which was parked at the Dockside Outlet in Chatham.

But the hearing at Maidstone Crown Court was adjourned to enable the preparation of psychiatric reports.

Joshua Stimpson
Joshua Stimpson

Stimpson was remanded into custody until his next court appearance on December 1, when his plea will be taken.

Clean-shaven and wearing a navy suit and tie with a white shirt, he spoke only to confirm his name during the hearing today in front of Judge Adele Williams.

It was his third court appearance since being arrested at the scene and charged with Molly's murder.

The pretty 23-year-old suffered multiple slash and stab wounds to her chest, neck and throat during the attack, which happened just after 11am on Thursday, June 29.

Molly McLaren
Molly McLaren

Cause of death an an inquest hearing six days later was given as sharp force wounds to the neck.

Stimpson sat in the dock flanked by four psychiatric hospital staff members and a custody officer.

The court was told his father and stepmother, who live in Kent, and mother and stepfather, who live in Devon, were in the public gallery. Molly's family did not attend.

Stimpson's Facebook page stated that he and Molly were in a relationship at the end of December last year and he posted several photos of them together.

Molly McLaren died in the car park of the Dockside Shopping Outlet in Chatham
Molly McLaren died in the car park of the Dockside Shopping Outlet in Chatham

But Molly's Facebook page stated at the time of her death that she was single.

Stimpson, of High Street, Wouldham near Rochester, will turn 26 next weekend.

His trial is due to start on January 22 and last up to two weeks.

The case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which will look into Molly's contact with officers before her death.

Floral tributes were left at the scene of Molly's death
Floral tributes were left at the scene of Molly's death

Molly was a student at the Medway campus of the University of Kent where she was studying exercise, sport and health education.

She lived in the nearby village of Cobham and worked part-time at local pub, The Leather Bottle. Paying tribute at the time of her death, the manager described her as "beautiful, lovely-natured, kind-hearted, just perfect".

Molly was also a health and fitness blogger and her parents Doug and Jo, brother Tom and two close friends have since set up The Molly McLaren Foundation to help people with eating disorders.

Donations and a JustGiving page have so far raised more than £20,000 and a number of events have been organised to take place next month.

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