I would like to publicly add my condolences, to those I have made privately, and to the scores of others being amassed following the announcement of Gracie Spinks’ murder on Friday. The outpouring of love and affection for Gracie speaks to her popularity and the affection and esteem in which she was held.
It is unbearable that a family has lost a beloved daughter in this way, but that anguish will be coupled with a desire to ensure that the full facts about this case are known and that action is taken to prevent more families suffering this same agony.
Her distraught family and friends deserve privacy now, but they also deserve for their voices to be heard should they wish to speak out on their experiences.
This appalling incident has sent shockwaves through the community, amongst those who knew or worked with Gracie and also more widely.
I have communicated with Police several times and am aware that Derbyshire Police have referred themselves to the IOPC (Independent office for Police conduct) so that there can be a full enquiry about some of the issues that are being reported on social media and how the Police have conducted any enquiries in advance of this incident.
This is a standard practice in a case like this and it is important that enquiry is given time and resources to fully investigate this issue.
The Police are prevented by the IOPC from commenting publicly on some of these issues until the investigation has taken place but I can assure everyone that I will do all I can to make sure that the full facts about everything concerning this are investigated and nothing is swept under the carpet.
I am aware that different media outlets and social media are already covering aspects of this incident and I am assured that all of these aspects will be fully investigated.
The issue of violence against women is a very prominent one just now, and this incident will further amplify the calls for more to be done to protect victims of violence and stalking and ensure that the law, and the forces of law and order, are more forcefully on the side of victims and protect them before offences are committed.
The Police and other authorities must have all the resources and legal powers they need, so that we can say that as a society we have done all we can to prevent more families suffering the intolerable and heart-breaking anguish that Gracie’s family and friends are now suffering.
The helplessness that we all feel when an incident like this occurs must strengthen our resolve to ensure that victims of stalking and violence are the law’s utmost priority.