Gracie Spinks: Derbyshire Constabulary refers itself to police watchdog after tragedy
Derbyshire Constabulary has referred itself to the police watchdog following the tragedy in Duckmanton.
Officers confirmed that a woman in her early 20s and a man in his mid-30s both died in Duckmanton on Friday – and the deaths were linked.
Formal identification is yet to take place.
However, the woman has been named locally and in tributes as Gracie Spinks, 23.
The community is in mourning – and prayers are being said for Gracie’s loved ones.
Friends have described her as a ‘caring and loving’ young woman, and a ‘beautiful girl’ who touched many people’s lives.
Over the weekend, national media reported allegations that Gracie – who adored horses – had been ‘bothered’ by a man who was ‘obsessed’ with her.
The reports claimed she may have filed a restraining order after he ‘kept turning up at the stables where she went riding’.
The Derbyshire Times was also contacted by a member of the public who said they found a backpack full of ‘extremely disturbing’ items near to where Gracie died.
She said the backpack included two large knives, an axe, a hammer, Viagra and a note saying ‘don’t lie’.
The woman said she discovered the backpack six weeks ago and added: “The contents were extremely disturbing.
“I handed the bag to police.
“They basically said they won’t be investigating further.”
The Derbyshire Times asked Derbyshire Constabulary if it wanted to comment on the above allegations.
A spokesperson said: “Due to the ongoing investigation the force will not be commenting on these matters.”
They added: “The force has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).”
When asked for the exact reason why the force had referred itself to the IOPC, the spokesperson responded: “Due to the ongoing investigation we will not be commenting further on this.”
A spokesperson for the IOPC said: “We can confirm we have received a referral from Derbyshire police following the death of a woman in Duckmanton on Friday.
“We will assess the referral and decide on our level of involvement, if any, in due course.
“Our thoughts remain with the woman’s family.”
The IOPC’s website states: “The IOPC oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales.
“We investigate the most serious matters, including deaths following police contact, and set the standards by which the police should handle complaints.
“We use learning from our work to influence changes in policing.
“We are independent, and make our decisions entirely independently of the police and Government.”
On Friday, Derbyshire Constabulary said in a statement: “A woman was found injured in a field near to Staveley Road, Duckmanton, at around 8.40am.
“Paramedics attended and the woman, who was in her early 20s, sadly died at the scene.
“At 11am, the body of a man in his mid-30s was found in a field off Tom Lane, Duckmanton.
“We have traced and informed both families and specialist officers are supporting them at this time.
“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
“We appreciate that what has happened in Duckmanton will have shocked and upset many people in the community and officers will carry out extra patrols in the coming days.
“We would urge you to stop and speak to an officer if you wish to raise any concerns.”