A police force has referred itself to a watchdog after the family of a murdered model said she was being harassed by a stalker before her death.

Gracie Spinks, 23, was found dead with stab wounds on Friday morning in a suspected murder-suicide in the village of Duckmanton in Derbyshire.

In the immediate hours after her death, roads in and out of the area were cordoned off and a primary school went into lockdown as the alleged murderer fled the scene. The assailant was described as being in his 30s, wearing grey jogging bottoms and a black top.

His body was recovered three hours later just half a mile away in a field in another part of the village.

Police said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident and believe the deaths are linked.

Ms Spinks was a keen equestrian and the man accused of killing her would reportedly show up uninvited to the stables where she would practice for showjumping competitions.

Derbyshire Police are now investigating the link as a potential crime borne from stalking, and have referred themselves to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC).

Friends of Ms Spinks said the man accused of her murder was 'obsessed' with her

An IOPC spokesman said: "We have been notified that a referral is being made by the force. When we receive it, we will carry out an assessment to determine what further action is needed by us."

Friends have said the man was "obsessed" with her, with one telling The Sun: "We are aware that she had a stalker but didn’t know who he was.

"We heard she had taken out a restraining order against him because he was becoming quite a pest.

"She was a beautiful young woman, very popular, and he was obsessed with her and kept turning up at the stables. He was infatuated with her."

A villager who lives close to where Ms Spinks’ body was found, said: "Gracie kept at least one horse on the land – it is grazing land where a number of people have horses and there is a temporary stable.

"As I understand it, Gracie was looking after her horse when she was attacked. It is just awful."

Bag full of weapons discovered six weeks prior 

Separately, it emerged on Sunday that a walker found a bag full of weapons six weeks ago on a farmer’s track just 100 yards away from where Ms Spinks was killed.

The bag, which was found by walker Anna White, included two daggers, a blade, an axe and a hammer, as well as a hand-written note that said: "Don’t lie."

Ms White claims to have taken the bag to the police station, but was told there was nothing that could be done.

In a post on social media, she wrote: "I found a backpack six weeks ago on the farmer’s track directly opposite Tom Lane, the contents of which were extremely disturbing.

"I contacted the police and handed the bag to them. They basically said they wouldn’t be investigating further despite the obvious fact that DNA would have been recoverable – water bottle and clothing.

"If this is in any way linked to this incident, then the police have some major questions to answer.

"The whole purpose of me handing it in was in the hope that a future tragedy could be prevented. They may not be linked but it does seem very odd."

Derbyshire Police has been contacted for comment.