Five officers served with disciplinary notices after death of Chesterfield’s Gracie Spinks

Five police officers have been served with disciplinary notices following the death of Chesterfield’s Gracie Spinks.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 7:17 pm

Gracie, 23, was found fatally injured in Duckmanton on June 18. It is understood she was killed by 35-year-old Sheffield man Michael Sellers, whose body was also discovered that day.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating Derbyshire Constabulary following Gracie's death – and the watchdog released a statement on Friday.

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Chesterfield's much-loved Gracie Spinks. Pictures kindly provided by her family.

It said: “Ms Spinks had contacted the force in February this year to make an allegation of stalking, and officers spoke to her and the man whose behaviour she had reported.

“Our investigation is considering whether the force carried out all its safeguarding obligations to Ms Spinks and whether its investigation into the stalking matter was carried out in accordance with relevant police guidelines and policies.

“We are also looking into the actions and decision making of police following the discovery of a bag, containing a hammer, an axe and some knives, in May this year. The bag had been found close to where Ms Spinks died several weeks later, and its discovery was reported to the force.

“Based on the evidence we have assessed to date, we have served a gross misconduct notice on a police sergeant and misconduct notices on two constables in relation to what steps were taken after the bag was found and reported on May 6 and collected by police. We have also served misconduct notices on a separate police sergeant and constable concerning how the investigation into the stalking and harassment allegation was handled.”

IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: “We have made good progress, but our investigation is ongoing and there is more work still to do.

“After consideration of evidence so far, we have reached a stage where we have now served disciplinary notices on five officers.

“The purpose of such notices is to advise officers their conduct is subject to investigation, and do not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow.

“The serving of notices will be kept under review.

“We aren’t able to provide more detail at present, but we appreciate the impact Gracie’s death has had on the local community and beyond and the importance of keeping people updated with our investigation’s progress.

“We are keeping Gracie’s family informed and we note the work they have undertaken with others to campaign for Gracie’s Law to help better protect victims of stalking.”

Talking to the Derbyshire Times earlier this month, Gracie’s mother Alison Heaton said: “Derbyshire police failed Gracie with several errors. We can’t talk about this any more at this time – but the public will know about these errors in time.”

She also urged people to sign the Gracie’s Law petition, which is aimed at tackling stalking.

“Please get behind Gracie’s Law and let’s get more funding for stalking advocates. This would help support victims and should help the police to investigate cases more thoroughly, potentially helping to prevent threats to life,” she added.

“We don’t want any other family to go through what we’re going through.”

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