Derbyshire Women's Equality Party renews calls for national stalker register in the wake of Gracie Spinks' death

The Derbyshire branch of the Women’s Equality Party has issued renewed calls for a national stalker register in the wake of Gracie Spinks’ death.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 11:36 am

Gracie Spinks, 23, who was a keen horse-rider and lived in Old Whittington, was killed by Michael Sellers – a man she knew – in a field near to Staveley Road, Duckmanton at around 8.40am on Friday, June 18.

The 35-year-old from Sheffield was also found dead in fields off Tom Lane, a couple of hours later.

Derbyshire Constabulary confirmed it has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct after the force was contacted by Gracie earlier this year.

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Gracie Spinks was tragically killed in a field near to Staveley Road, Duckmanton on June 18.
Gracie Spinks was tragically killed in a field near to Staveley Road, Duckmanton on June 18.

Police confirmed there was no criminal restraining order in place from Gracie towards Sellers.

They also said a bag containing weapons had been found by a member of the public in Duckmanton in May and was handed in.

Kate Burns, co-lead of the Derbyshire branch of the Women’s Equality Party has joined fresh calls for a national stalker register in the wake of the 23-year-old’s death.

Kate, who lives in Brimington said: "I'm horrified, absolutely horrified and I think many of us that live locally are horrified by the news – it is just shocking.

Kate Burns, from Brimington, is co-lead of the Derbyshire Women's Equality Party.

"My first and foremost thoughts are with her families and loved ones.

"Women's Equality Party and other organisations looking at violence against women and girls have been warning that something like this could happen.

"It was a preventable tragedy and that makes it all the more sad.”

The branch co-leader, who started setting up the Derbyshire wing of the party last year, said the Government has previously disregarded joint calls from women’s organisations for a national register to log and track stalkers to help keep people safe.

Kate added: "It feels like if something like that had been brought into place, measures like that could monitor cases especially with serial stalkers and those who have got restraining orders taken out against them.”

She criticised both the Government and the police for ‘failing to act’ to protect Gracie but shared that while it is ‘very easy’ to place blame at the door of law enforcement, policy changes are ‘needed’ to better protect women.

Nationally, the Women’s Equality Party are urging the Prime Minister allocate ring-fenced-funding for stalking support services – including specialist training for criminal justice professionals, perpetrator treatment programmes along with the national stalker register.

Kate continued: "Enough is enough.

"Ending violence against women and girls has got to be a political priority as well as policing priority and I feel very strongly about that.

"The facts are that 80% of victims are female and 70% of perpetrators are male in terms of stalking so this is a gendered issue.

"The first thing that needs to happen is women need to be listened to.

"We are not just talking into the void, if a woman tells you something is happening to her, do something about it.”

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