Chatham car park murder accused 'blamed harmful thoughts'

Image source, Kent Police
Image caption,
Molly McLaren met Joshua Stimpson on dating app Tinder

A man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death said "something in his head" was telling him to do it, a court has heard.

Molly McLaren, 23, died in a "frenzied" attack in her car at the Dockside shopping centre in Chatham, Kent, on 29 June.

Joshua Stimpson, 26, has admitted manslaughter but denies murder.

After his arrest he told a mental health nurse he had previously taken medication for a bipolar disorder.

Community psychiatric nurse Jackie Ribbens told Maidstone Crown Court she had asked Stimpson if he had had thoughts of harming Ms McLaren before the day of the attack.

He told her: "Maybe yesterday, but I didn't act on them."

'Not hearing voices'

Ms Ribbens said she had visited Stimpson in a custody cell on the evening after the killing.

He told her that during the attack there had been "something in his head telling him to do it - more a thought than a voice", the court heard.

He told the nurse he had not been hearing voices.

The nurse told the court in her opinion Stimpson showed no overt symptoms of psychosis or acute mood disorder.

He said he had been given mood-stabilising drugs for a bipolar disorder four years earlier, but no longer took them, she told members of the jury.

She said Stimpson refused to discuss in detail his mood the previous day, but she said rather than avoiding the questions it appeared he was in shock and perhaps trying to process trauma.

Stimpson said he had not been sleeping well for the previous two weeks but had no thoughts of harming himself, she said.

Ms Ribbens told the count Stimpson was not paranoid or delusional.

'Completely changed'

In a statement from his father Paul, the jury heard that Stimpson had experienced mental health problems since he was a teenager.

He would talk about suicide, and in 2010 was found in the flat he shared with his brother with "Paracetamol all over the place"

Molly had a positive effect on him and encouraged him into his job at WindowPlan Ltd in Strood in May 2017, the court heard.

He also ran the London Marathon in aid of a mental health charity that year. However, after the break-up, colleagues made statements to say he had "completely changed", and would take days off, break down and be extremely agitated.

Stimpson denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The trial continues.

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