Watchdog confirms investigation into Derbyshire police’s contact with Gracie Spinks before her death

Derbyshire Constabulary is to be independently investigated over the contact the force had with Gracie Spinks before her tragic death, it has been confirmed.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:39 pm
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 9:13 am

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

Now, the IOPC has issued a statement saying: “We can confirm we are independently investigating the prior police contact between Gracie Spinks and Derbyshire police prior to her tragic death on June 18.

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Picture kindly submitted by the family of Gracie Spinks.

"As our investigation is in its early stages, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

“Our thoughts remain with Gracie's family, friends and anyone else affected by her death.”

Gracie was found injured in a field near to Staveley Road, Duckmanton, at around 8.40am on Friday.

Paramedics attended but she sadly died at the scene.

Officers believe that Gracie, who was from the Chesterfield area, was killed by a man she knew, who was later found dead.

He has been identified as Michael Sellers, from Sheffield.

The 35-year-old was found in a field off Tom Lane, Duckmanton, at around 11am on Friday.

Officials have not yet formally revealed how they died.

A Derbyshire Constabulary spokesperson said on Monday: “We are not looking for anyone else in connection with the two deaths.

“Specially trained officers are supporting Gracie’s family at this time.

“His death is not thought to be suspicious and enquiries are being made to fully understand the circumstances relating to his death.

“We will be preparing a file for the coroner.”

Inquests into the deaths will be opened at Chesterfield coroner’s court ‘in due course’, officers said.

Over the weekend, national media reported allegations that Gracie – who adored horses – had been ‘bothered’ by a man who was ‘obsessed’ with her.

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: “I handed the bag to police.

“They basically said they won’t be investigating further.”

The Derbyshire Constabulary’s spokesperson said on Monday: “There has been a lot of speculation in the community in recent days as to what happened that day and we are working to find answers for everyone involved.

“We can confirm that the force has referred itself to the IOPC because we had contact with Gracie earlier this year.

“We are not able to release any further information about the case, but we can confirm there was no criminal restraining order in place.

“We can also confirm that a member of the public found a bag containing weapons in Duckmanton in May and handed this in to police.”

Derbyshire Constabulary told the Derbyshire Times it cannot currently answer any of our questions relating to the tragedy given the IOPC’s involvement.

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