AMBER PEAT INQUEST . . . The story so far: Chad appeal led to discovery of tragic teen

Amber Peat
Amber Peat

When Mansfield teenager Amber Peat's body was discovered in June 2015 it devastated the local community, following days of frantic searching.

Your Chad reported the disappearance, the search and the outpouring of public grief at the time, after she ran away from home following a family row.

Danny Peat

Danny Peat

The teenager, who had recently moved to Mansfield with her family from Derbyshire, had a history of trying to run away.

Now, almost four years later, her inquest has finally begun and is expected to run for 40 days. Here is a summary of what your Chad has reported so far.

DAY 1 (January 28)

The inquest, which opened in Nottingham, heard that it could not be ruled out that Amber's death was a cry for help which went wrong.

Kelly Peat

Kelly Peat

The inquest was opened by Assistant Coroner Laurinder Bower, who heard how Amber, 13, had left her family home on Bosworth Street, Mansfield, on May, 30, 2015 at 5pm after a dispute about chores with her mother Kelly Peat."

The body of the Queen Elizabeth’s Academy pupil was found three days later on June 2, in a small wooded area off Westfield Lane, less than a mile away. The family had lived in Derbyshire before moving to Mansfield.

Home Office pathologist Dr Frances Hollingbury said Amber had died as a result of hanging.

DAY 2 (Jan 29)

Amber's former teacher Keely Vardy, who had taught the youngster at Town End Junior School in Tibshelf, Derbyshire when Amber arrived aged 11 in April 2013, said Amber and a sibling had arrived "quite quickly", leaving her previous school abruptly. She had seemed quite sullen at first, on her first day. In a lesson she had said her she had "nothing happy to write about," but eventually wrote about going for tea with her grandmother.

She had been excited by the forthcoming wedding of her mother and step father, and wearing a nice dress. She was concerned it may affect her SATS.

Giving evidence Beverley Wilson headteacher at the time, said Amber and a sibling had arrived at the school practically within a few days of the request from their parents which was unusual.

The headteacher said she often had to stay back late at school with Amber and her sibling , waiting for an adult to pick them up.

DAY 3 (Jan 30)

The inquest in Nottingham heard that Amber’s GP had raised concerns about her behaviour, in January 2014, because she had run away from home, was performing poorly at school in Tibshelf, and she had a new stepdad with mental health issues.

Joanne Robinson, manager of the Tibshelf Multi-Agency Team (MAT) in Derbyshire, said two workers visited the family after Amber went missing in January 2014.

But a full Common Assessment Framework (CAF) - to assess the needs of a child or family, if they agreed to work with the MAT - was not started. “Why wasn’t a CAF completed shortly after the home visit?” asked assistant coroner Laurinda Bower. “I can’t answer that fully,” said Mrs Robinson. “We were working towards a CAF with the school.”

The coroner later criticised Derbyshire County Council for "not getting their case in order".

DAY 4 (Jan 31)

David Wallace a teacher at Tibshelf Community School told the inquest at Nottingham coroner’s Court he had received a phone call from a letting officer that Amber had turned up at the school at 9pm after running away from home on April 3 2014.

He said it had been a cold windy and rainy evening

Amber told him she had run away from home at around 5pm after an argument with her mum and a sibling.

He had contacted Amber’s parents mum Kelly and stepfather Danny Peat to come and pick her up but Danny said it wasn’t possible as the dog was ‘in labour’. Mr Wallace drove Amber home and said her parents did not show any emotion or relief at her return.

DAY 5 (Feb 1)

The inquest heard that Danny Peat was facing charges of tax fraud and had taken an overdose.

Laurinder Bower, assistant coroner, read out a note from a midwife looking after Amber's mother, who was pregnant at the time, and had raised concerns about the family and referred the family for an assessment. Kelly Peat, described as his main carer had been suffering from depression at the time.

DAY 6 (Feb 4)

The inquest heard how Amber told teachers at Mansfield she had been punished and humiliated by her stepfather in the months leading up to her death.

Her form tutor Rebecca Beard at Queen Elizabeth's Academy, said Amber was a lovely bubbly little girl, who sometimes got herself into trouble with low level disruption and attention seeking behaviour in class.

She had been involved in a fight with another girl in October 2014 and had to be pulled away.

Two months before she died Amber had come into the tutor group sobbing and devastated.

She said her stepfather had been punishing her all weekend for being naughty. He had woke her up at 11.30pm to complete jobs.

She had to clean the floor for an hour and did not get to sleep until 1.30 am.

"She was really upset and embarrassed for saying it."

Another time she had been made to come to school wearing baggy jogging bottoms by her step father as punishment for forgetting to put her trousers in the wash even though she had another clean pair. "She was devastated, the other children thought she had wet herself."

On another occasion she had been made to bring her school books in a carrier bag as punishment.

"She had lost weight , you could see her ribs when she pulled her trousers up.

"She had outgrown her trousers but the waist was too big." Amber was always hungry despite attending the school breakfast club.

She said "I was concerned she was being emotionally abused by her step father.

"I reported it to the school safeguarding team. I was hoping that a referral would be made to social services.

"The referral was rejected. We were asked to keep a note of anything we considered a concern or change."

DAY 7 (Feb 5)

The coroner questioned if Amber's trust had been breached in the months leading up to her death by her teacher being advised to relay her concerns to her parents. Social services in Nottinghamshire told teaching staff to speak to Amber's parents about their concerns.

DAY 8 (Feb 6)

A Chad appeal for the whereabouts of Amber prompted a witness to tell police they had seen her near where her body was found three days later, the inquest heard.

Adam Lamb saw Amber on Westfield Lane, 20 minutes after she stormed out of her parents’ home following a row about chores, at 5.50pm, on Saturday, May 30, 2015.

She smiled at him as she passed his car, and he remembered her because she looked like a friend’s daughter.

Mr Lamb told the inquest he thought it was “odd” that she was hanging about on a small green, near the junction with Parliament Road, as no one was there.

“She was looking at bushes like she was going to go into them,” he said.

He reported the sighting at 5.30pm, on Sunday May 31, after reading the Chad’s appeal for information on Facebook, which sparked more than 40 sightings of Amber.

Amber’s family contacted the Chad directly, and the appeal was put out before police released an official statement.

Police went to the area, but they didn’t contact the witness and ask him where he last saw her, or search the area on Sunday, said Detective Chief Superintendent Rob Griffin.

The green was about 1km from Amber’s home, and featured a “very dense” hedgerow that had an “entrance” that was probably made by youngsters forcing their way through.

The inquest continues