Gracie Spinks: Woman murdered by ‘stalker’ was failed by police, parents say

Gracie’s Law campaign calling for more funding and legal powers to tackle stalking

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 20 October 2021 10:01
<p>Gracie Spinks, 23, suffered a fatal stab wound to the neck while visiting her horse in Derbyshire </p>

Gracie Spinks, 23, suffered a fatal stab wound to the neck while visiting her horse in Derbyshire

A woman thought to have been killed by a former colleague she had reported for stalking was "let down" by police, her parents have said.

Gracie Spinks, 23, suffered a fatal stab wound to the neck while visiting her horse at Blue Lodge Farm stables in Duckmanton, Derbyshire, on 18 June.

Michael Sellers is thought to have carried out the murder before killing himself.

His body was found in a field near to the stables just hours after Ms Spinks had been discovered.

Ms Spinks’ parents said their daughter reported Sellers to police for stalking before she was killed.

She started a job at Xbite Ltd in Chesterfield after being put on furlough in her previous job as a lifeguard.

Sellers was her supervisor at the firm and "became a nuisance at work," Ms Spinks’ mother Alison Heaton said.

Speaking ahead of what would have been her daughter's 24th birthday, told the BBC: "We want justice for Gracie.

"We feel like she was really let down by the police. She had made a complaint and they just basically didn't join up the dots."

Derbyshire Police said it could not comment because the case was being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Ms Heaton said her daughter had contacted the police after Sellers was found waiting at her horse’s field one morning, “which really spookd her”.

Just weeks before Ms Spinks was murdered, a member of the public also found a bag of weapons near where she was killed.

Ms Spinks' father, Richard Spinks, said: "If it had been flagged up between the finding of the weapons and her complaint to the police and they had put the two together, they would have warned her, this wouldn't have happened."

The parents are campaigning for Gracie's Law, which calls on more funding and powers for the legal system and police to tackle stalking.

"Each individual force would have its own dedicated person that deals with stalking complaints,” Mr Spinks said.

"You switch your TV on and you expect another story [about women being killed], don't you? It's an awful situation and I think people need to wake up, and many have."

Campaigners have set up a petition calling on the government to "provide more funding for stalking advocates for victims of stalking".

"We want to get the petition read in Parliament and hopefully change things for the future and save more lives," Ms Heaton said.

The petition has so far received more than 49,000 signatures and will be considered for a debate in the House of Commons if it reaches 100,000.

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