Published: 12:42, 14 June 2018
| Updated: 13:11, 14 June 2018
This month marks a year since the life of a beautiful young lady was taken.
June 29 will mark 12 months since Molly McLaren was murdered and the start of grief and pain for her family and friends.
Doug and Jo have spoken of their inspirational daughter, feelings towards her killer and the support given to them by her ‘gang’.
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“Molly was beautiful and clever. But not without her problems," her dad explains.
"She suffered with bulimia but showed great inner strength to overcome her demons. She was an inspiration to others as well.
“She made a mark on everyone she met,” Jo adds. “Everything she did in life she came away with another group of friends.”
On February 6, Joshua Stimpson was found guilty of murdering Molly.
He was branded ‘wicked and cowardly’ by Judge Adele Williams who gave him a minimum sentence of 26 years in prison.
It was the verdict everyone had hoped for. But it didn’t ease the pain for Doug, Jo and Molly’s brother Tom, as Jo explains: “I thought we would get some kind of relief or closure but it got worse.
“We focused on the trial and it was a focus for a long time and we thought there would be relief after it.
Doug continues: “I think in terms of the verdict he got what he deserved. Looking back with hindsight, he was a pathetic character.
"He was weak, spineless, souless, heartless. I just hope he’s enjoying his porridge.
“He didn’t show any remorse through the trial and that was a contributing factor to his sentence.
“As for his parents, we would have thought they would at least acknowledge us. We lost a daughter. They haven’t lost a son. He’s still alive.
“I understand their counsel may have told them not to talk to us during the trial but at the sentencing they didn’t even look at us. It was strange if you ask me.
“It’s not their place to apologise for his actions but we would have been receptive if they wanted to talk to us. We’re not barbarians. We would have listened if they had something to say.”
Molly’s popularity has been a blessing to her family, who have had endless support as they all try to keep going after what happened.
For Jo, she says she needs the friends. Holding back her tears, she says "I need to see people sharing memories, I need to see photos, I need to see the videos”.
“Molly’s friends have been outstanding,” Doug said. “They’ve stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us. There hasn’t been a week gone by that they haven’t had someone from Molly’s crew round here. The gang we call them.
“They’re helping us and we’re helping them too. It’s a question of keeping going. Moving on is something I can’t imagine. Keeping going is the axel of what we’re doing and they’ve helped us so much.”
"Do you want to share information that could help people or don’t you?.." - Doug McLaren
It was revealed in the trial held at Maidstone Crown Court at the beginning of the year, that Stimpson has had a history of stalking his previous partners.
The inability for the police to receive this information when Molly reported him to the police is an issue, according to Doug McLaren.
He said: “I think the police did what they should have done.
“But there are some issues surrounding some of his previous girlfriends, two of whom testified at the trial and one of whom said he had slashed her mother’s car tyres.
“The issue was when Molly and Jo went to the police they couldn’t find out about this because it wasn’t a charge or evidence. It was just an allegation and they couldn’t access Staffordshire police databse.
“Recommendations have been made about more cooperation between police forces in the UK, which can only be a good thing.
“I appreciate the Data Protection Act that’s been brought in but you have to ask yourself what is important in our society?
“What is important in our lives? Do you want to share information that could help people or don’t you?”