Gracie Spinks murder: Family say police ‘let down’ 23-year-old

The family of a woman believed to have been murdered by Sheffield stalker Michael Sellers have said she was ‘let down by the police’.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 2:20 pm

Speaking ahead of a candlelit vigil in Chesterfield on what would have been her 24th birthday today, Gracie Spinks’ parents claimed she might still be alive had Derbyshire Police not failed to ‘join up the dots’.

Gracie had complained to Derbyshire Police about Sellers, who had been her supervisor at the e-commerce company Xbite Ltd in Chesterfield where she worked during the pandemic.

Speaking to the BBC, Gracie’s mother Alison Heaton said: “He had become a nuisance at work to her and work had dealt with it.

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Gracie Spinks was killed in June in an attack believed to have been committed by Michael Sellers, from Sheffield

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“He did wait at the horse field one morning before, which really spooked her, and that prompted her to ring the police.”

Weeks before Gracie’s death, a walker found a bag of weapons close to where Gracie was later killed, and reported it to police.

Gracie’s 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.”

Michael Sellers, who is believed to have killed Gracie Spinks, had been reported to police for stalking

Ms Heaton added: “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.”

Gracie was stabbed in the neck as she tended to her horse in a field near to Staveley Road, in Duckmanton, at around 8.40am on Friday, June 18.

Sellers’ body was found later that morning in a field at Blue Lodge Farm, where Gracie kept her horse Paddy. The 35-year-old, who was unemployed, is believed to have taken is own life.

The investigation into the death of 23-year-old Gracie is still ongoing but involves her links to Sellers.

A candlelit vigil to celebrate the life of Gracie will be held at Saint Bartholomew Church, Church Street North, Old Whittington, at 6.30pm today.

Gracie’s father described her as a ‘very loving, caring person’ who ‘lit up the room wherever she went’.

He said members of the public were welcome to attend the vigil and pay their respects.

Ahead of the vigil, the law firm representing Gracie’s family said they had previously maintained a ‘respectful silence’ but now ‘wish to finally shine a light on the case of Gracie Spinks’.

Sajad Chaudhury, of Harewood Law, added: “There is information that seems to suggest, that the police had evidence provided by a member of the public in their possession which if investigated thoroughly could have prevented this horrific tragedy.”

Gracie’s family are campaigning for Gracie’s Law, which would require the Government to provide more funding for police to support stalking victims and investigate cases more thoroughly.

The petition, which has been signed nearly 50,000 times, needs 100,000 signatures to be considered for debate in Parliament.

Derbyshire Police referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following Gracie’s death.

It said: “The force is continuing to liaise with the coroner over the deaths of Gracie Spinks and Michael Sellers and the case remains with the IOPC. For this reason, we are unable to comment further.”