The family of a woman who was murdered after making a complaint against her stalker, say she was "let down" by police. Gracie Spinks was killed earlier this year, just weeks after going to the police over concerns for her safety.
The 23-year-old left her home in the early morning of Chesterfield on 18 June and drove to the nearby stables where she kept her horse. Sadly, within half an hour, she was found at the stables unconscious with a fatal stab wound to her neck.
Just a few hours later, the body of Michael Sellers was found in a nearby field. Sellers had been Gracie's supervisor at a warehouse where she had a temporary job, and four months before their deaths she told police that he had become infatuated with her and turned up to the stables uninvited.
After her death, Gracie's family learned that a bag containing a number of weapons, including knives, an axe and a hammer, as well as a note that read "dont lie" had been found in the vicinity of the stables and handed in to police just six weeks earlier.
The 23-year-old's family claim police did not take adequate action after the bag of weapons was found, nor did they link this to their daughter's stalking report.
Speaking to Sky News, her mother, Alison Heaton claimed that: "A guy who Gracie had previously reported to the police for stalking her approached her that morning and murdered her."
She continued, "This bag of weapons had been handed in on the 6 May and as far as we know the police didn't act on it and join up the dots basically from Gracie's complaints."
Gracie's father, Richard, pointed out that if the family been made aware of the weapons, they could have "protected" her. "We wouldn't have allowed her to go to the field that day on her own," he said, "We wouldn't have let her go anywhere on her own after that, so that's the view that I've got: I think they let her down big time."
Speaking about the possible connection between the two deaths, Derbyshire Police said: "We are continuing to liaise with the coroner over the deaths of Gracie Spinks and Michael Sellers and the case remains with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). For this reason, we are unable to comment further."
The IOPC, the police watchdog who the case has been passed onto, said: "We are independently investigating the prior police contact between Gracie Spinks and Derbyshire Police prior to her tragic death on Friday 18 June. The investigation is ongoing."
By sharing her story, Gracie's family hope to raise awareness of a campaign they're calling 'Gracie's Law'. They're calling on the government to pledge funding to each police force for a dedicated point of contact for stalking complaints.
Our thoughts are with Gracie's friends and family at this heartbreaking time.
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