Man Who Stalked and Killed Gracie Spinks Died by Suicide, Coroner Says

The man who stalked and killed Gracie Spinks took his own life shortly after fatally stabbing her while she was tending her horse, a coroner has ruled.

Michael Sellers was found dead in a field 150 meters from where he fatally stabbed Ms Spinks at Blue Lodge Farm, Duckmanton, Derbyshire, on 18 June 2021.

After the attack, the 35-year-old killed himself, his body being found three hours after he killed Ms Spinks.

In a hearing on Monday at Chesterfield Coroner's Court, Coroner Matthew Kewley said Sellers had “carefully planned” his actions after becoming “absolutely obsessed” with Ms Spinks, who had reached “dangerous levels”.

He effectively removed himself from any form of accountability for his actions towards Gracie Spinks

Matthew Kewley

He said: “On June 18, 2021, Michael Sellers murdered Gracie Spinks as she arrived at the horse field.

“Most likely he was waiting for her arrival.

“This was not a spur-of-the-moment act of violence.

“Michael Sellers was involved in significant planning and preparation in the weeks leading up to the assassination.

“His actions were premeditated and carefully planned.

“He has effectively removed himself from any form of responsibility for his actions towards Gracie Spinks.

“I'm sure he died by suicide.”

The inquest into Sellers' death took place after a jury concluded on Thursday that she had unlawfully killed Ms Spinks by stabbing her 10 times following several serious failings previously admitted by Derbyshire Police.

These included how police handled Ms Spinks' complaint about Sellers over stalking concerns, made in February 2021, and how they dealt with a bag of weapons found near Blue Lodge Farm in May that year.

But the jury said it could not conclude whether these contributed to Ms Spinks' death.

While police dismissed the bag, which contained a hammer, an ax and several knives, at the time, it was linked to Sellers after his death.

Giving evidence on Monday, Detective Constable Denise Sandall, from Derbyshire Police, said bank statements showed Sellers had bought the knives found in the bag on March 11, 2021.

He seemed to have made a plan of what he intended to do and seemed quite sure that this was what he wanted to do, and the fact that he bought these knives on May 6 suggests that

DC Denise Sandell, Derbyshire Police Service

He then bought more knives on the same day the bag was discovered, which were then found at the scene on 18 June 2021.

He said: “He seemed to have made a plan of what he was going to do and he seemed pretty sure that was what he wanted to do, and the fact that he bought those knives on May 6 suggests that.”

DC Sandall said that before Ms Spinks reported to police, Sellers had never been spoken to by police before and had no previous convictions.

A black case, which Sellers was seen on CCTV placing in his car hours before his death, was found near his body and a suicide note was later found in a bedside drawer.

The officer said Sellers was born in Sheffield, lived with his family and “didn't appear to have any close friends and never had a girlfriend”.

He had met Ms Spinks at e-commerce company, xbite, in 2020, but became “obsessed” with her after she refused to pursue a romantic relationship.

She later reported him to the company and he was fired for gross misconduct, with eight other women having reported him for inappropriate behavior towards them.

In his conclusion, Mr Kewley said Sellers was “incapable of understanding how to behave towards his female colleagues” and “didn't even have a clue of his own behaviour”.

In a statement read at the inquest, Sellers' father, Steven Sellers, said his son “just shut down and really went downhill” after losing his job at xbite, but would not discuss the reason for the firing.

She said: “He was so upset. He was blind. I don't think he knew what he had done wrong.”

Mr Sellers also said his son had told his family: “I don't want her (Spinks) to love me, I just want her to like me.”

In his statement, Pc Daniel Ball, also of Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “After losing his job, Michael's family described him as ‘dying inside' as work meant everything to him.”

He added: “After xbite, Michael's personality changed. He was fragile, very quiet and withdrawn, seemingly lost his way in life.”

None of Sellers' family attended the inquest.