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Five officers 'have case to answer' for misconduct in death of Gracie Spinks

Officers who were told of stalking allegations prior to death and those informed of bag of weapons near to site of killing should face action says IOPC

An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into Derbyshire Constabulary contact with Gracie Spinks prior to her death in Duckmanton, Derbyshire has concluded that five officers have a case to answer for misconduct. 

The IOPC investigated the circumstances of contact between Ms Spinks, 23, and Derbyshire Constabulary in the months leading up to her death on 18 June 2021.

Ms Spinks contacted the force in February 2021 to make an allegation of stalking, and officers spoke to her and the man whose behaviour she had reported.

Her body was found in a field near Staveley Road in Duckmanton, Derbyshire, at around 8.40am on June 18, 2021 .

She is believed to have been killed by 35-year-old Michael Sellars the man she had reported to Derbyshire Police for stalking. 

The body of unemployed Sellars, from Sheffield, 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.

The IOPC said it "considered whether the force complied with its safeguarding obligations to Ms Spinks and whether its investigation into the stalking matter was carried out in accordance with relevant police guidelines and policies."

It also looked into the actions and decision making of police officers following the discovery of a bag, containing a hammer, an axe and some knives, in May last year. The bag had been found close to where Ms Spinks died several weeks later, and its discovery was reported to the police.

Based on the evidence assessed, the IOPC said that in relation to the stalking investigation, two officers have a case to answer for misconduct. A further three officers have a case to answer for misconduct in relation to the bag discovery. It added that disciplinary proceedings in the form of a misconduct meeting should be brought against each officer.

IOPC Regional Director, Derrick Campbell said: “Our investigation was thorough and considered a wide range of evidence and have determined five officers have a case to answer for misconduct. It will now be for the force to arrange misconduct meetings. 

“Due to an impending inquest, it would be inappropriate for us to share any further details at this time. We will publish our findings once these proceedings have concluded.”

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