Gracie Spinks inquest: Receipt linked bag of weapons to killer

An inquest has heard that a bag of weapons belonging to murderer Michael Sellers could have been linked to him by a shop receipt.

The bag - which contained three knives, an axe and a hammer - was found by two dog walkers six weeks before Sellers stabbed Gracie Spinks to death.

One of the dog walkers, Anna White, reported the bag to police in a 101 call played to the inquest.

In the call, she described her concerns about the contents of the rucksack.

"I've found a bag and I'm quite concerned about what I've found," Ms White said in the call.

She then went on to list some of the items in the bag, which included a pack of Viagra and a note saying "Don't lie".

"I think it was the piece of paper that said 'Don't lie" that made me think 'Oh my god'," she told police.

Bag of weapons photographed on table
Anna White reported the bag to police, saying she was particularly concerned about the note inside

Ms White found the bag of weapons on the morning of 6 May 2021, down a bridleway in Duckmanton in Derbyshire.

Miss Spinks was later murdered by Sellers on 18 June 2021, close to where the bag of weapons was found.

Det Con Denise Sandall, who investigated the murder, told jurors the bag contained a Marks & Spencer receipt belonging to Sellers' father, who he lived with.

Narita Bahra KC, the barrister representing Ms Spinks's family, asked her about this receipt.

"It's dated 29 April 2021 and timed at 16:16 hours," said Ms Bahra.

"You know that as officers, if you want to, you can go back to a location and ask a store for their CCTV of who was using the tills at that time?" she asked.

"Yes, CCTV generally lasts 28 or 30 days so we would have been in time for CCTV before it got overwritten," said Det Con Sandall.

"So if somebody went on 6 May, they could have potentially got it?" asked Ms Bahra.

"Potentially, yes," said Det Con Sandall.

Ms Bahra asked Det Con Sandall about the debit card details on the receipt.

Det Con Sandall said it only showed the last four numbers of the card and the authorisation code.

She said these details could have been used to identify the card holder, but this would have needed authorisation from a judge - either by going to court or sending forms via email.

Michael Sellers
Michael Sellers, who was 35, met Gracie Spinks when they worked together at Xbite

The inquest heard that two police officers went to collect the bag of weapons from Ms White on the evening of the day she reported it to police.

The inquest is due to hear further evidence about what police did with the bag after collecting it.

Det Con Sandall, who examined the bag after Miss Spinks was murdered, said it had been in a police "property store" and it had only one exhibit label attached to it.

The weapons and other items were still inside the bag, she said, and did not have individual exhibit labels attached to them. She then labelled the individual items.

Wayne Kipling and Anna White
Wayne Kipling and Anna White found the bag of weapons near the scene where Gracie was later murdered

She showed these items to the jurors by laying them on the floor. In addition to the weapons, note and Viagra, the bag contained antibacterial wipes, three plastic bags, a piece of paper, a Sharpie pen, black jogging bottoms, black hooded top, and a water bottle with the slogan "Nothing worth having comes easy".

There were also three copies of a quote by satirist Bill Hicks, which read: "I left in love, in laughter, and in truth, and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit."

The same quote was found in Sellers' bedside cabinet after he killed Miss Spinks and himself, alongside a suicide note.

Ms Bahra asked Det Con Sandall about this quote, which Bill Hicks had written while dying from pancreatic cancer.

"This was his post-script that he wrote to his last letter, which started with 'I'm dead now'. Did you know that?" asked Ms Bahra.

"I did but only after," said Det Con Sandall.

Gracie with her father
Gracie Spinks, shown here with her father Richard Spinks, was 23 when she was murdered

Det Con Sandall said she had looked at Sellers' bank statements and discovered he had bought the three knives online on 11 March 2021, at a cost of £325.

He then bought four more knives online on the same day his bag of weapons was found and handed to police, spending £471.

One of these knives is thought to have been the one he killed Miss Spinks with.

The inquest continues.

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