Five Derbyshire officers under investigation over Gracie Spinks stalking death

Five officers from Derbyshire Constabulary are being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over the way they dealt with a stalking complaint from a woman who was stabbed to death four months later.

Nov 26, 2021
By Tony Thompson

Gracie Spinks, 23, had made an allegation of stalking to the force in February this year after finding a man waiting for her at the stables where she worked. Officers spoke to Ms Spinks and the man whose behaviour she had reported, Michael Sellars.

Ms Spinks was found stabbed to death on June 18. The body of Sellars was found a few hours later and he is believed to have taken his own life.

A statement from 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. The bag had been found close to where Ms Spinks died several weeks later, and its discovery was reported to the force.

“Based on the evidence we have assessed to date; we have served a gross misconduct notice on a police sergeant and misconduct notices on two constables in relation to what steps were taken after the bag was found and reported on May 6 and collected by police. We have also served misconduct notices on a separate police sergeant and constable concerning how the investigation into the stalking and harassment allegation was handled.”

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “We have made good progress, but our investigation is ongoing and there is more work still to do. After consideration of evidence so far, we have reached a stage where we have now served disciplinary notices on five officers. The purpose of such notices is to advise officers their conduct is subject to investigation, and do not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow. The serving of notices will be kept under review.

“We aren’t able to provide more detail at present, but we appreciate the impact Gracie’s death has had on the local community and beyond and the importance of keeping people updated with our investigation’s progress.

“We are keeping Gracie’s family informed and we note the work they have undertaken with others to campaign for Gracie’s Law to help better protect victims of stalking.”

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