Gracie Spinks: IOPC investigates police handling of stalking allegations

An investigation has started into Derbyshire Police’s handling of stalking allegations made by a woman who was fatally stabbed.

Gracie Spinks, 23, is thought to have been killed by former colleague Michael Sellers in Duckmanton, Derbyshire.

Ms Spinks who died in June, reported the stalking to the force in February.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it would look into whether the force “met all its safeguarding obligations to Ms Spinks”.

It added Derbyshire Police referred itself to the watchdog after Ms Spinks’s death.

In a statement, the IOPC said “officers spoke to her and the man whose behaviour she had reported” earlier in the year.

It also plans to review the force’s actions after a member of the public reported the discovery of a bag containing weapons in May, near to the site where Ms Spinks died weeks later.

Before her death on the morning of 18 June, Ms Spinks had driven to Blue Lodge Farm, where she kept her horse, Paddy.

After 08:00 she was found by two witnesses lying on the ground next to a patch of blood, and one witness saw a man running away.

Sellers’ body was later found near Blue Lodge Farm by a member of the public, surrounded by trees and bushes.

A post-mortem examination suggested his death was “self-inflicted”, as a result of starving his body of oxygen.

The IOPC said: “Our investigation will consider whether the police investigation into the matter was carried out in line with all relevant policies and guidance, as well as whether the force met all its safeguarding obligations to Ms Spinks.

“We have informed Ms Spinks’ family, the force and the coroner of our involvement.”

Regional director Derrick Campbell added: “This was a heartbreaking incident where a young woman has lost her life and our thoughts are with all those affected.

“Our work will focus on understanding the circumstances leading up to her death, and the police response to those, and will be provided to the coroner in advance of the inquest.”

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