'This confirms our worst nightmare' - Gracie Spinks' parents release statement as five Derbyshire police officers to face misconduct meeting

The parents of Gracie Spinks have released a statement in response to news that five Derbyshire police officers are to face misconduct meetings over their handling of their daughter’s stalking case.

Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 10:13 pm

On Wednesday, the Independent Office for Police Conduct said that two officers have a case to answer for misconduct over their contact with Gracie and her family in the months leading up to her death on June 18, 2021.

A further three officers have a case to answer in relation to the discovery of a bag containing a hammer, an axe and some knives near the Duckmanton stables where the 23-year-old was found murdered, the watchdog added.

Gracie’s parents Richard Spinks and Alison Heaton have welcomed the findings of the IOPC report, saying it "confirms our views from the outset that Gracie was let down".

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Parents of Gracie Spinks, Richard Spinks and Alison Heaton, have welcomed findings by the IOPC.

A statement, made via the family’s solicitors at Harewood Law, said: "As we approach the first anniversary of the loss of Gracie, this is a particularly difficult time for us, as a family we are still struggling to come to terms with the void left in our lives.

"We welcome the findings of the IOPC report, this confirms our views from the outset that Gracie was let down, all five officers involved in one investigation have a case to answer for misconduct.

"We appreciate at this stage we do not have sight of the full report and there is a coroner’s inquest pending for these reasons we are limited in what we can say.

"The preliminary findings do seem to suggest that Gracie’s death was potentially preventable, and the officers involved in the investigation all potentially failed in their obligations to safeguard the victim, this does confirm our worst nightmare.

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

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"We hope that Derbyshire Constabulary will now conduct misconduct meetings for each officer. We will continue to monitor this situation.

“We do consider that these findings should be used nationwide across all forces not just Derbyshire, to ensure all forces have a transparent, consistent approach to safeguard other victims of stalking, harassment.

"Victims of these types of crimes require specialist officers who have been trained to ensure thorough investigations and sensitive victim support.

"The campaign for justic for Gracie Spinks will continue.”

Gracie, of Old Whittington, contacted Derbyshire Constabulary in February 2021 about stalker Michael Sellars – who was harassing her in and out of work and is believed to have fatally stabbed her.

Though officers spoke with the 35-year-old, Gracie’s family say police missed several blaring alarm bells which may have saved her life, had they been properly followed up on by officers.

IOPC Regional Director, Derrick Campbell said arrangements for misconduct meetings to proceed were now the responsibility of Derbyshire Constabulary.

He added: “Due to an impending inquest it would be inappropriate for us to share any further details at this time.

"We will publish our findings once these proceedings have concluded.

“We have kept Gracie’s family informed and have shared the results of our investigation with them. Our thoughts remain with them ahead of the first anniversary of Gracie’s death.”

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