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Woman, 23, ‘stabbed to death’ by former colleague she reported to police for stalking

Gracie Spinks was found stabbed in her horse’s field with her suspected attacker also dead just meters away (Pictures: Facebook/xbite)

A 23-year-old woman was stabbed to death by a former colleague, despite telling police he was stalking her, a court heard.

Gracie Spinks was found lying in her horse’s paddock in Duckmanton, Derbyshire on June 18, 2021, and died at the scene shortly after.

An autopsy report found 10 stab wounds, thought to have been inflicted by her former colleague, Michael Sellers, 35, who was said to be ‘obsessed’ with her.

He was found dead just 150 metres away later that morning, with a note saying:’Could not deal with all of her lies,’ the inquest at Chesterfield Coroner’s Court heard today.

Ms Spinks had reported Sellers to both their employer – a warehouse run by e-commerce firm xbite – and the police.

She had reported him over stalking concerns in the months before her death after he refused to accept she didn’t want to be in a romantic relationship with him.

He was eventually sacked by xbite and police gave Sellers ‘words of advice’ but officers took no further action, it was heard.

Police were also ‘not concerned’ when a bag of weapons were found near where Ms Spinks’ horse stayed, with a note saying ‘do not lie’, just over a month before she was killed.

Speaking about the morning she died, Matthew Kewley, assistant coroner for Derby and Derbyshire, said: ‘Gracie left home early to go and see her horse in the field.

‘Just after 8am, a number of other people arrived at the field and Gracie was found lying on the ground and a man was seen running away.

‘It was initially thought she may have been attacked by a horse.

‘At about 8.13am the emergency services were called. Paramedics went to the field.

‘The emergency services did the best they could to save Gracie. Sadly they were unable to do so and sadly she died at about 8.50am.

He said that while paramedics were attending to Ms Spinks, a knife was found nearby

He continued: ‘Soon a possible link was made with Michael Sellers. At around 11am, Michael Sellers was also found and he was deceased.

‘It appeared that Michael Sellers had taken his own life and a suicide note was recovered.’

Ms Spinks, a passionate horse rider, was later found to have died from a stab wound to the neck, with paramedics describing ‘catastrophic’ bleeding.

Speaking to a jury of 11, Mr Kewley said that Ms Spinks first met Sellers at the warehouse in April 2020.

Sellers, a supervisor, had been with the company since 2015 and had been the subject of complaints from a ‘number of female colleagues’ about his behaviour towards them.

He ‘started to show an interest’ in Ms Spinks and the pair met up outside work ‘on a number of occasions’, but she decided in December 2020 that she did not wish to continue meeting up or be in a relationship with him.

Sellers refused to accept this and would continue trying to engage with Ms Spinks and persistently ask other staff for information about her.

On January 4, 2021, Ms Spinks was on her way to Blue Lodge Farm, where her horse, Paddy, was stabled, when she saw Sellers parked in a lay-by.

She reported the incident to xbite, and Sellers was suspended and later dismissed.

She also told police, fearing he would follow her again, and it was at this point they spoke to him but took no further action.

The bag of weapons, which included an axe, was discovered and discounted not long after.

Following the deaths, the Independent Office for Police Conduct said five Derbyshire Police officers had cases to answer for misconduct.

Mr Kewley told the jurors they are tasked with finding how, on the balance of probabilities, Ms Spinks died, including whether police could or should have done more to investigate the incidents prior to her death.

Reading a statement outside the court on Monday, Sajad Chaudhury, representing Ms Spinks’ family, said: ‘Gracie was snatched away from us by a coward, who was unwilling to face the consequences of unthinking actions.

‘We cannot hold him to account. We have had no closure.

‘The inquest will enable the nation to hear the distressing facts as to how and in what circumstances Gracie was killed, the events leading up to Gracie’s death, and her interaction with the police in reporting her stalker.’

The inquest continues.

Credit: metro


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