Mum's heartbreaking tribute to daughter 'killed in murder-suicide by suspected stalker'

·4-min read
Alison Heaton added a 'stop violence against women' sticker to her Facebook profile picture of daughter Gracie (Alison Heaton/Facebook)
Alison Heaton added a 'stop violence against women' sticker to her Facebook profile picture of daughter Gracie Spinks. (Alison Heaton/Facebook)

The mother of a woman killed in a suspected murder-suicide has paid tribute to her "beautiful" daughter.

Gracie Spinks, 23, was found dead in a paddock in Duckmanton, Derbyshire, on Friday morning, while the body of a man in his 30s – said to be a former work colleague – was found several fields away.

Gracie had been fatally wounded in the field where she kept her horse.

Gracie's mum Alison Heaton wrote on Facebook on Monday: "My beautiful daughter Gracie taken away from me, her dad and brother and sister and everyone who loved and cared for her."

Mrs Heaton added broken heart and crying emojis, and changed her Facebook profile picture to a photo of her daughter with a pink frame stating: "Stop violence against women, justice for women".

Other family members, including Gracie's dad Richard, have also added the frame to their profile pictures.

A fundraising page has been set up in memory of Gracie Spinks who was found dead in a paddock on Friday (Abbey Griffin/Go Fund Me)
A fundraising page has been set up in memory of Gracie Spinks, who was found dead in a paddock on Friday. (Abbey Griffin/GoFundMe)

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Friends of the family posted tributes on Mrs Heaton's page.

"I’m so sorry Alison, she was beautiful inside and out and she loved you all so dearly. She will be by your side every day," wrote Jade Coyle.

Sarah Sewell, partner of Gracie's brother Tom, wrote: "Forever a big sister to me."

Another friend, Claire Haigh, wrote: "There just aren’t words to express how I feel about this, but I hope all the love for Gracie, and for you and the family, will offer you some comfort. Thinking about you all and sending much love."

It is alleged that Gracie, a keen horse-rider, was killed by a former colleague who was obsessed with her and had been stalking her.

Derbyshire Police has since referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Gracie Spinks was fatally injured in the field where she rode her horse Paddy(BPM Media)
Gracie Spinks was fatally injured in the field where she rode her horse Paddy. (BPM Media)

According to The Sun, friends have claimed Spinks had taken out a restraining order because he was "becoming quite a pest" and was "infatuated with her".

Anna White, who lives in the area, told Derbyshire Live she found a brown Nike rucksack on a nearby farm track six weeks ago, and handed it to police.

Police have closed off Tom Lane, near Duckmanton  and warned the school to keep all children inside until the matter has been resolved (Nathan Warby)
Police have closed off Tom Lane. (Nathan Warby)

The bag, found around 300 yards from where Gracie died, contained an axe, a hammer, several knives, clothing and a water bottle.

White said: "I contacted the police and handed the bag to them. 

"They basically said they wouldn't be investigating further despite the obvious fact that DNA would have been recoverable (water bottle and clothing).

"If this is in anyway linked to this incident then the police have some major questions to answer. 

"The whole purpose of me handing it in was in the hope that a future tragedy could be prevented.

"They may not be linked but it does seem very odd."

Flowers have been laid near where a young woman was found fatally injured
Flowers have been laid near the spot where Gracie Spinks was found.

Gracie worked as a packer at e-commerce firm Xbite and did occasional modelling work.

Derbyshire police said officers are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

It said the families of both of the deceased had been traced and that specially trained officers were supporting them.

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A GoFundMe page set up to help Gracie's family had raised more than £8,000 by Monday lunchtime.

Abbey Griffin, who set up the page, said: “Gracie was a beautiful girl at just 23 years old she had already touched so many people’s life and what gorgeous memories she leaves behind.

"She was a caring and loving individual and was always happy to help. She was also so so stubborn and she’d always stand up for what was right. 

"If you knew Gracie you’d also know she was horsey mad and had the most gorgeous horse called Paddy whom she loved dearly. 

"Although no amount of money could ever bring Gracie back, I ask that you please donate what ever you can to help her family at this moment. We all love you so dearly Gracie, behave up there."

The IOPC said in a statement: "We have been notified that a referral is being made by the force.

"When we receive it, we will carry out an assessment to determine what further action is needed by us."

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