Anti-stalking laws must be strengthened as an “upmost priority” an MP has said, following the murder of keen horse rider and part-time model Gracie Spinks.

The 23-year-old is believed to have been killed by an obsessive former colleague Michael Sellars, 35, whose body was discovered  just half a mile away from hers in Duckmanton, Derbyshire on Friday morning.

Derbyshire Police has referred itself to the watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following reports that Miss Spinks had taken out a restraining order against Sellars.

Miss Spinks’ mother Alison Heaton wrote on social media: “My beautiful daughter Gracie, taken away from me, her dad and brother and sister, and everyone who loved and cared for her.”

Miss Spinks was studying art and design at Chesterfield College

Toby Perkins, the local MP said the incident would “further amplify the calls for more to be done to protect victims of violence and stalking”.

He said: “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.”

He went on: “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.”

Miss Spinks, who was studying art and design at Chesterfield College was a part time model and a keen horse rider.

She also worked at a local e-commerce firm, X-Bite, where Sellars had also had a job.

Fellow workers claimed he had become obsessed with her and eventually she had sought a restraining order.