The second episode of the Channel 5 Murdered By... docu-series, Murdered By My Ex: The Killing Of Molly McLaren, tells the story of a 23-year-old student whose life was taken on June 29 2017. The episode raises awareness about the dangers of stalking and the horrific consequences it can lead to.
In February 2018, 26-year-old Joshua Stimpson was sentenced to a minimum of 26 years in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Molly McLaren, the BBC reports. According to the BBC, Stimpson "in a seven-month relationship with Ms McLaren before she ended it two weeks before her death." Following the break up, Stimpson began posting "derogatory messages about Ms McLaren on social media," the BBC writes.
These messages led McLaren and her mother Joanne to contact Kent Police, but, according to Pretty 52, "[d]espite two warnings from the authorities, Stimpson stalked Molly before attacking her in her car as she came out of the gym." Although attempts were made by the public, the police, and paramedics to save McLaren, she was pronounced dead at 11.43 a.m. on June 29 2017, Kent Live reports.
A review of McLaren's case revealed that Stimpson "had harassed a woman in Staffordshire four years earlier but it had not been recorded as a crime," the BBC reports.
Looking further into this 2013 case, The Sun explains that Stimpson harassed a woman named Alexandra Dale "after they went on one date." The newspaper continues:
"He sent her a barrage of texts and was suspected of slashing the tyres on her mum's car. Ms Dale went to the police but the messages were not recorded as a crime and cops said there was insufficient evidence linking him to the car attack. Instead of arresting him, Stimpson was sent a text by a police officer warning him to stay away from Ms Dale. Despite the officer's warning Stimpson later threatened to stab and drown the terrified young woman — who was advised not to publicise her whereabouts."
Since the death of their daughter, McLaren's parents have called for a change in policy when it comes to recording stalking incidents as a crime.
"If when Joanne and Molly went to Kent Police, they could have tracked down the alleged crime in Staffordshire, it might have thrown a whole new light on things and it might have raised a few alarms," Doug McLaren, Molly's father, told the BBC. "Arguably, Molly might still be alive."
"Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Molly McLaren," a spokesman for Staffordshire police told The Sun. "We accept that our investigation in 2013 was not up to the required standards." They continued:
"Significant improvements have been made to our safeguarding and investigative approach to stalking and harassment, but we have more work to do. We are committed to ensuring officers and staff understand stalking and harassment and their devastating impact so they can better respond to incidents reported to us."
As previously mentioned, Stimpson was sentenced to 26 years for the murder of McLaren, with the judge telling him "he may never be released for his 'wickedness,'" the BBC reports.
After the conviction, the family said in a statement:
"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. A light has gone out in all of our hearts but shines bright as a star forever glowing. We love you Molly."