With big, bright eyes and the kindest of faces, every time 23-year-old Molly McLaren snapped a selfie, she no doubt figured it would live in the far corners of the internet, housed in the little space she carved for herself online.
Today, those photos exist for police records and are brandished across media sites, those kind, bright eyes the face of a system that failed of her.
Molly McLaren was a popular kid. In fact, so popular her parents have been blown away in recent months by how many faces have popped up, the level of love thrown her way and how many have mourned the daughter they loved so. She was beautiful, intelligent.
At 23, she had sailed through the murky waters of young adulthood in Kent, in the UK, having overcome bulimia and anxiety, with a fervent and decisive passion to promote self-acceptance and body image, confidence and a positive mindset.
She refused to let her mental health have a stranglehold on her future, instead, hoping to empower the people around her. She often wrote on her blog and her social media accounts about these ideas; about finding the balance between a healthy mind and body through “holistic well being”.
In November 2016, Molly, then at university and beginning to plot the path of her future, met a boy. His name was Joshua Stimpson, he was 25 and a warehouse worker. The two connected on Tinder and dated for seven months.
By June, however, Molly ended the relationship. According to The Independent, she told friends she felt she was “constantly treading on egg shells” around him.
Just five days later, she went with her mother, Joanna, to North Kent police station. His behaviour was alarming, aggressive. He making derogatory Facebook comments about her, some regarding drugs. Most terrifyingly, he was wholly unpredictable.