Ex-boyfriend to serve life with a minimum of 26 years for murdering Molly McLaren
Senior investigating officer Detective Sergeant Ali Worton said: ‘Molly was a popular and ambitious young woman with her whole life ahead of her but this was stolen by Stimpson in the most brutal way imaginable.
‘He has proven to be an extremely dangerous individual and needs to spend a lengthy period of time in prison where he can cause no further harm to innocent people.
‘It was clear to the jury and us that Molly’s death was pre-planned and that Stimpson is a cold and calculated killer rather than somebody who does not have the mental capacity to control himself.
‘By denying murder and failing to accept responsibility for his actions, he forced Molly’s family and friends to suffer even further distress through the tough ordeal of a crown court trial.
‘I would like to pay tribute to Molly’s family for the strength and dignity they have shown throughout and I hope this result is of some comfort.
‘I would also like to thank the police officers and ambulance staff who attended the scene of Molly’s death and fought valiantly to save her. They face difficult situations on a daily basis but this was one that will certainly live long in the memory and I am keen that their efforts are recognised.
'Finally I would like to express thanks and recognise the courage of the members of public who tried desperately to stop the attack on Molly.'
A statement from Molly’s family said: ‘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 Moreton for his brave efforts at the carpark 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.
'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.
'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.'
Photos (clockwise from below) - Molly's car following the attack; The knife used to attack Molly; CCTV of Stimpson purchasing the weapon; The pickaxe found in Stimpson's car; Another knife found in Stimpson's car.