Watchdog confirms Gracie Spinks reported stalker to Derbyshire police before her death

Derbyshire Constabulary spoke to both Gracie Spinks and the man she said was stalking her before her death, it has been confirmed.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 1:02 pm

Last month, Derbyshire Constabulary referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) because it said ‘we had contact with Gracie earlier this year’.

Today, the IOPC has confirmed that the 23-year-old from Old Whittington contacted the force in February to make an allegation of stalking and that officers spoke to her and the man whose behaviour she had reported.

As part of its investigation, the watchdog said it will be checking whether Derbyshire Constabulary met its safeguarding obligations to Gracie, and whether the police investigation into matter was carried out in line with all relevant policies and guidance.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Gracie with her horse Paddy

It will also look into the actions and decision-making of police after they were handed a bag containing weapons which was found by a member of the public in May near to where Gracie was killed.

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “This was a heart-breaking incident where a young woman has lost her life and our thoughts are with all those affected.

“We recognise the impact this has had on the local community, which is why it is so important for us to carry out our investigation, which is independent of the police.

“Our work will focus on understanding the circumstances leading up to her death, and the police response to those, and will be provided to the Coroner in advance of the inquest.

“As this work is still at an early stage, we are unable to provide more information at this time.”

The IOPC said it has informed Gracie’s family, the force and the Coroner of its involvement in the case.

Horse-lover Gracie was sadly stabbed to death in a field near to Staveley Road, in Duckmanton, at around 8.40am on Friday, June 18.

Officers believe she was killed by a man she knew, who was later found dead.

He has been identified as 35-year-old Michael Sellers, from Sheffield.

A petition for ‘Gracie’s Law’ has since been set up calling for stricter punishments for stalkers.

Gracie's funeral will take place at Old Whittington Church at 12pm on July 23 followed by a celebration of her life at the Cock and Magpie at Old Whittington.