Gracie Spinks death: officers served notices over handling of stalking report

Two police officers have been served with misconduct notices over their handling of a stalking allegation made by 23-year-old Gracie Spinks several months before she was killed, the police watchdog has said.

Spinks was stabbed to death in a field in Duckmanton, Derbyshire, nel mese di giugno as she was caring for her horse, and is believed to have been killed by Michael Sellers, 35, who was found dead nearby.

She had reported Sellers to Derbyshire police in February for alleged stalking. L'Ufficio Indipendente per la Condotta di Polizia (IOPC) said officers spoke to her and the man whose behaviour she had reported.

A police sergeant and two constables have been served misconduct notices over the steps they took after a bag of weapons, including a hammer, an axe and knives, was discovered in May near where Spinks was killed. She was discovered unconscious with stab wounds at Blue Lodge Farm stables where she kept her horse, Paddy, just a few miles from her home at about 8.40am on 18 giugno.

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

The IOPC regional director, Derrick Campbell, disse: “After consideration of evidence so far, we have reached a stage where we have now served disciplinary notices on five officers.”

The watchdog was considering whether the force carried out all its safeguarding obligations to Spinks and whether its investigation into the stalking matter was carried out in accordance with relevant police guidelines and policies, it said in a statement.

Spinks’s family and friends have been campaigning for Gracie’s law in recent months, which would lead to more funding being allocated to investigating stalking claims.

“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. 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,” said Campbell.

Spinks’s mother, Alison Heaton, told Sky News the development was a significant step forward towards getting the answers they demanded. “It means that we can have some sort of justice for Gracie," lei disse. “I totally believe that had the police done their job properly Gracie would be alive.”

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