Mother of woman killed by creepy stalker said heart of family “has been ripped out”
Ms Spinks was described as “the life of the party”, a “role model” and a “free spirit” in multiple tributes from relatives and friends at the inquest into her death on Monday.
She is believed to have been killed on June 18 2021 by 35-year-old Michael Sellers, whom she had reported to the police due to stalking concerns.
Several members of the jury and family members wept as many of Ms Spinks’ relatives delivered their statements at Chesterfield Coroner’s Court.
Holding back tears, Ms Spinks’ mother, Alison Ward, said: “Gracie was the life and soul and energy of our house. She would always be singing, playing music and having fun with us all.
“Now we have silence in our house and the heart of our family has been ripped out.
“The death of our beautiful daughter left the whole family and myself devastated. Nothing will ever be the same.
“I cannot put into words how much this has impacted my family and every aspect of my life.”
Ms Ward said her daughter’s room remains untouched since her death, with dirty clothes on the floor and an empty crisp packet on the bedside cabinet.
Ms Spinks was stabbed to death as she tended to her horse at Blue Lodge Farm in Duckmanton, Derbyshire, with Sellers’ body found later that day around 150 metres away with self-inflicted injuries.
Ms Spinks reported “creepy” Sellers to Derbyshire Police due to stalking concerns months before she died after the pair met at work in 2020, but he was judged to pose a low risk, the inquest was told.
Her father, Richard Spinks, said she was an “amazing and unique person”, telling the court: “Everybody she met, she took to straight away, and they to her.
“She was so friendly and open and smiley and happy.
“I am so devastated that she could not fulfil her hopes and dreams and all the things she wanted to do.
“She was the light of my life and so precious to me. Her loss has changed me completely and I miss her every day.”
Her brother, Thomas Spinks, said: “Gracie lit up the room. She was the life of the party and had an absolutely massive, golden heart.”
Her sister, Abi Heaton, said: “I will always see her laughing, pulling funny faces and singing.
“She would do anything for those she loved.
“She was the life of my family, our best friend and deserved so much more.
“I don’t know what to do without her. I am lost.”
The jury was shown several pictures of Ms Spinks, many of which included her horse, Paddy.
The inquest continues.