Watch: Gracie Spinks' parents speak about their need for answers
The parents of Gracie Spinks who was fatally stabbed in Duckmanton on June 18 – spoke to Derbyshire Times this week – saying they “want answers” over the events leading to their daughter’s death.
Richard Spinks and Alison Heaton told in a painful interview on what would have been Gracie’s 24th birthday how police had failed to “join up all the dots” linking a bag of “murder weapons” found opposite the stables just six weeks before her death - after she made a complaint made against her “stalker” Michael Sellers in February.
The backpack – handed into police on May 6 – contained three hunting knives, an axe, a hammer and a note reading “don’t lie”.
However neither parent knew anything about it until a photo of the bag was posted on social media on the day of Gracie’s death.
Mum Alison said Sellers, 35, had “harassed” her daughter.
However “spooked” Gracie took her concerns to the police after seeing Sellers sat in a car at the gates to Blue Lodge Stables – where she tended to her horse Paddy every morning before work.
Speaking about the bag, Alison said: “Gracie reported to police that he had waited for her at the gates to the stables and the bag was found literally across the road.
“So if the police had acted upon the bag of murder weapons then hopefully we’d have our daughter here now.”
Richard added: “They didn’t join up all the dots - nothing flagged up that linked the finding of the bag, connected it with Gracie and her complaint.
“If it had flagged up and the dots had been joined she would have got warning and therefore we wouldn’t have lost our daughter.”
After contacting police about Sellers, Gracie stepped back from prosecuting and was told by officers they would speak to him.
Richard and Alison say that was the last contact the 23-year-old had with police over her complaint about Sellers.
Chesterfield’s Jackie Barnett-Wheatcroft launched a petition in the weeks that followed Gracie’s death to seek more funding for stalking advocates in all police forces.
The family wants to have 100,000 signatures by midnight on February 22 calling for Government support and funding.
Richard said: “Gracie’s Law petition is to raise funds to pay for bespoke individuals to organise and be solely responsible for stalking complaints to do that as a full-time job - not to be pulled off onto another full-time job.
“That’s why we want these 100,000 signatures on the petition for Gracie’s Law.”
A spokesman for Derbyshire police said: “We are continuing to liaise with the coroner over the deaths of Gracie Spinks and Michael Sellers and the case remains with the IOPC. For this reason, we are unable to comment further.”
A spokesman for the IOPC added: "We are independently investigating the prior police contact between Gracie Spinks and Derbyshire Police prior to her tragic death on Friday 18 June. The investigation is ongoing. Our thoughts remain with Gracie’s family, friends and anyone else affected by her death.”
You can sign the petition HERE.