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Five officers investigated over handling of incidents before Gracie Spinks death

Written by on November 26, 2021

Five Derbyshire Police officers are being investigated over events leading up to the violent death of Gracie Spinks at a stable block near Chesterfield where she kept her horse.

Gracie, who was 23, is believed to have been stabbed to death by Michael Sellers, a former work supervisor she’d reported for stalking her there four months earlier.

Sellers’ body was found nearby a few hours after Gracie died.

A local couple later revealed on social media that they had given the police a bag of weapons they had found close to the stables a month before she was killed.

A local couple revealed they had found a bag of weapons close to the stables a month before she was killed. Pic: Anna Kipling
Image: A local couple revealed they had found a bag of weapons close to the stables a month before she was killed. Pic: Anna Kipling

A statement from the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said: “[We have] made good progress on our investigation into police contact with Gracie Spinks prior to her death in Duckmanton, Derbyshire earlier this year.

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

Gracie’s mother Alison Heaton told Sky News the development moves the family closer to getting the answers they have demanded.

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“It means that we can have some sort of justice for Gracie,” she said.

“I totally believe that had the police done their job properly Gracie would be alive.”

The IOPC has confirmed one sergeant and a constable are being investigated for alleged misconduct over what they did following Gracie’s stalking complaint when she found Sellers waiting for her at the stables one morning in February.

Gracie died in June this year
Image: Gracie died in June this year

Two constables are being investigated for alleged misconduct and a sergeant for alleged gross misconduct over what was done with the bag of weapons, which also contained a note saying: “Don’t lie”.

In a statement the IOPC said: “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.”

Wayne Kipling who found the bag on a footpath while walking with his wife Anna told Sky News it also contained clothing, a card payment receipt and Viagra pills.

Gracie was last seen alive as she headed to a stable to see her horse
Image: Gracie was last seen alive as she headed to a stable to see her horse

“We thought something’s not right here, finding all these weapons with a change of clothes in, so we rang the police,” he said.

“I’m not happy at all, what’s the point of finding something and handing it in?”

Gracie’s brother Tom said he has been told the police put the bag into lost property storage until Gracie was killed, despite it containing enough evidence to link it to Sellars.

“She would be alive right now if the police has done anything, anything at all to let the public know,” he said.

The IOPC said its investigation is ongoing.

An online petition started by Gracie’s family for each police force to have funding for a dedicated point of contact for stalking complaints has gathered more than 80,000 signatures.


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