Joshua Stimpson now: He is imprisoned and will likely never leave prison

Molly McLaren was the unfortunate victim of Joshua Stimpson’s murderous rage at a car park outside her gym. Joshua and Molly met on Tinder and embarked on a four-month relationship. McLaren ended the relationship, but Joshua got her back through manipulation and insistent messaging. “It was easier to take him back than not,” Joanne, Molly’s mother, said on ITV’s The Social Media Murders

In June 2018, however, Molly ended the relationship for good. Twelve days later, Joshua followed her to a gym, where he pretended to be working out alongside her. After Molly got into her car intending to leave, Joshua pounced, stabbing her 75 times. 

Five days before Moly’s murder, she and her mother reported Joshua’s harassment to the police. He’d posted derogatory messages about Molly on Facebook, and she suspected him of stalking her. 

Joanne remembers that Joshua gave an ominous warning: “The police told him he must stop what he was doing and if he didn’t stop they would arrest him. He kept repeating, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong, and if you think I have there’s more to come,’ and those words still haunt me now.”

Police swiftly arrested Joshua after the murder, and the Crown put him on trial. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility resulting from a mental illness. The prosecution sought to prove that Joshua was a sadistic murderer with a history of harassing ex-girlfriends. 

When Joshua met Molly, he convinced her that he’d never dated before. “She felt a bit sorry for him, that he was a bit lonely,” Joanne said. “He seemed to be not just looking for love but to be wanted by someone.”

At his trial, the truth came out: He had two ex-girlfriends who had reported feeling threatened by him. Alexandra Dale stated that he’d stalked her, sent her threatening messages, and slashed the tires on her cars. 

Dale reported the slashing incident to police, but they didn’t record it as a crime due to lack of evidence. Staffordshire police have since changed their policies and are required to report stalking as a crime even if the victims don’t wish to pursue the matter. 

“This twisted fuck made my life hell and the police were informed yet did nothing about it,” Dale said

It took the jury less than four hours to find Joshua guilty of murder. Judge Adele Williams sentenced Joshua to life in prison with a possibility of parole in 26 years. She said:

“This was a cruel, calculated, and cowardly act. This was an act of wickedness. You took away Molly’s life quite deliberately in the most vicious fashion. You were determined to punish her for ending the relationship with you. Her family’s grief and anguish is raw and apparent for everyone to see.”

Stimpson may still be alive when he completes 26 years of his sentence, but it is unlikely that he will earn parole. “You are a highly dangerous young man and you will pose a very considerable risk to young women for a very considerable period in the future,” Judge Williams added

Joshua Stimpson’s relationship with Molly was based on a lie, and to keep the relationship alive, he resorted to more lies. <BR>After Molly dumped Joshua for his obsessive behavior, he faked having bipolar so Molly could stay with him. McLaren had genuine mental health issues, and she saw a kindred spirit in Stimpson. “We thought maybe they could help each other,” Molly’s father, Doug, said.

Stimpson ‘solved’ disagreements by faking a mental health episode. “Any time they had a disagreement, that came up,” a friend said. “‘You must spend time with me because I’m having an episode.’” Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Philip Joseph explained Joshua’s behavior:

“Joshua used his bipolar disorder to put pressure on Molly in order to get her to focus entirely on him. A significant warning sign, but of course Molly wanted to support him because she thought she was going through a very difficult period.”

At trial, specialists found that Joshua had no signs of bipolar disorder. 

After Molly dumped him and blocked him, Joshua used an unsuspecting acquaintance to help him stalk her. That way, he knew Molly’s location every time she updated her social media. 

“People who are enlisted into helping stalkers often don’t understand the full extent of what’s happening and the impact on the victim,” Rory Innes, CEO of The Cyber Helpline, said on The Social Media Murders. “They are lied to and given some fake narrative of what that person has done.”