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Final messages between Molly McLaren and friend read to jury at Joshua Stimpson murder trial

A student allegedly murdered by her ex-boyfriend sent worried messages to her friend just minutes before she was stabbed to death, a jury heard.

Molly McLaren, 23, from Cobham, sent Whatsapp messages to Amy Lee, raising concerns Joshua Stimpson had turned up at her gym at the Dockside complex in Chatham on the morning of June 29 last year.

As Molly left the gym and got in her car, Stimpson, now 26, of Wouldham near Rochester, stabbed her multiple times. She died at the scene.

Amy Lee (right), with best friend Molly McLaren
Amy Lee (right), with best friend Molly McLaren

Earlier today, the final messages sent between the friends before the killing were read to the jury at Maidstone Crown Court.

After Molly messaged Miss Lee at 10.59am to say "wtf", telling her Stimpson was next to her in the gym, she replied: "Did you Snapchat you were there?"

Molly, at 11am: "No literally haven't put anything."

Miss Lee, referring to Molly seeing Stimpson in The Ship and Trades pub the evening before: "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: "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."

Joshua Stimpson
Joshua Stimpson

Molly, at 11.01am: "I have left now."

Miss Lee: "Don't initiate any contact at all."

Molly: "I won't from now on."

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

Miss Lee at 11.02am: "He has no sense of what is normal. He's a freak. Stay away from him."

Molly: "I feel like I am ******* looking over my shoulder all the time."

And 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?"

The court also heard from Samantha Fleming, who told how she started talking to Stimpson on the dating app Tinder for a couple of weeks. She said she knew he was dating Molly. She knew of her but had not met her.

Molly McLaren was studying at university after going to college in Dartford
Molly McLaren was studying at university after going to college in Dartford

She later received a message from Stimpson asking her and friends to attend a Molly’s fitness class. She told her friends but she could not go.

In June last year she saw posts on social media of Stimpson falsely accusing Molly of being a drug addict.

Miss Fleming said she sent Stimpson a message asking if everything was OK, and was told they had split up. Miss Fleming said she then started communicating with him again.

On June 21, Stimpson asked her if she wanted to go out for a drink and they met five days later and went to pubs in Rochester.

The Ship and Trades pub in Chatham
The Ship and Trades pub in Chatham

Stimpson told her the police had spoken to him about posts he had put on Facebook about Molly and he had taken them down.

“We talked about Molly,” she said. “We were out for about five hours and got on well. He said he would like to see me again. I wanted to see him again. We agreed to meet on Wednesday, June 28.”

It was mentioned that Stimpson was bipolar.

The plan, she said, was to have dinner at Stimpson’s home, but he asked her if she wanted to meet for a beer at the Ship and Trades at the Dockside Outlet after work.

Joshua Stimpson
Joshua Stimpson

While they were at the bar, Stimpson suddenly said: “Oh f***.” He had looked across the bar and seen Molly.

“I asked if he was OK,” she told the jury. “He said he was fine. I suggested sitting away, around the corner. I didn’t want a confrontation or anything like that.”

Miss Fleming said she went to his home at about 8pm and he cooked for her. They watched Love Island on television. She then left because she had to get up early the next morning for work.

Stimpson had said he was not going to the gym the next day as he was going to have a lie in. He also said he was starting work at 8am. They arranged to meet again on the Sunday.

She agreed with Oliver Saxby QC, defending, Stimpson gave the impression he was over Molly. “Everything was fine,” she said.

Stimpson denies murder, but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The trial continues.

Lynn Cox reported live from this afternoon's session at Maidstone Crown Court, when a friend of Stimpson's gave evidence:

[Live Grid - Trial updates 3]

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