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Molly McLaren's family issue statement after Joshua Stimpson is jailed for her murder at Dockside in Chatham

The family of Molly McLaren have released a heartbreaking statement after the man responsible for her brutal murder was jailed for life.

Joshua Stimpson stabbed and slashed Molly, 23, to death in the car park of the Dockside Outlet shopping centre in Chatham last June.

Today, her loved ones watched as her ex-boyfriend Stimpson, 26, of Wouldham, was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life in prison.

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Molly McLaren with her parents

Molly McLaren with her parents

After the emotional hearing at Maidstone Crown Court, they described the pain of losing Molly - and their commitment to raising awareness of stalking.

The statement reads: "The last six months have been horrid beyond belief.

"We couldn’t have got through it without the love and support of family and friends.

"The number of Molly’s friends has staggered us, the like of which we have never known. Those that have visited and shared in our pain have been a great help.

"We would like to thank Kent Police for their diligence collecting and collating the evidence. We would also like to thank the prosecution team for expediting the due process of the law.

"The full extent of the digital stalking of Molly by Joshua Stimpson may never be known.

"We would like to thank Benjamin Morton for his brave efforts at the car park when he tried to intervene, and hope one day to thank him personally.

"The contrast in morality between these two people could not be more profound.

Molly McLaren

Molly McLaren

"However, in light of this case, we feel that there needs to be more awareness over the dangers of stalking and the need for people to report any concerns over stalking to the police.

"The verdict has brought us a small measure of comfort, but it seems that 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.

"This has affected so many people’s lives and our hearts go out to each and every one of you.

Joshua Stimpson. Picture Kent Police.

Joshua Stimpson. Picture: Kent Police.

"Our focus now turns to making sure Molly will live on through The Molly McLaren Foundation, helping people with eating disorders.

"Thank you all for your ongoing support with this.

"A light has gone out in all of our hearts but shines bright as a star forever glowing.

"We love you Molly."

Stimpson will have to serve a minimum term of 26 years before he is considered for release.

Family and friends of Molly have now set up a fundraising page in her memory. Click here to find out more.

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