Murdered woman’s stalking allegation leads to disciplinary action against police officers

Written by Luke Gyesi-Appiah

Two police officers have been served with misconduct notices over stalking allegations made by a woman against a man from Sheffield several months before she was killed.

Keen horse rider Gracie Spinks was found in a field near Staveley Road, Duckmanton, Derbyshire, at around 8.40am on June 18.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said a police sergeant and constable have been served with misconduct notices concerning how the investigation into how a stalking and harassment allegation was handled.

The 23-year-old victim is thought to have been killed by 35-year-old Michael Sellars, who she had reported to Derbyshire Police in February for stalking.

The IOPC said three other Derbyshire Police officers could face misconduct proceedings over the steps they took after a bag of weapons, including a hammer, an axe and some knives, was discovered in May near where Ms Spinks was later found dead.

A police sergeant has been served with a gross misconduct notice relating to the action taken over the stash of weapons, and two other constables have been served with misconduct notices.

Ms Spinks was last seen alive by her mother at 7.30am on June 18, leaving the family home in Chesterfield to drive a few miles to Blue Lodge Farm stables in Duckmanton, where she kept her horse.

She was discovered unconscious with stab wounds at the stables half an hour later.

The body of unemployed Sellers, who was her former supervisor at a warehouse where she once worked, was found in a nearby field off Tom Lane a few hours later.

Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield, previously called for stalking victims to be the “law’s upmost priority” following Ms Spinks’s death.

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.”

Written by Luke Gyesi-Appiah

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