The mum of tragic teen Amber Peat says change is needed and has questioned if her daughter would still be alive if she had received more help and support
Amy Robinson, who specialises in medical negligence and inquests at Nelsons, has, with barristers Philip Turton and Thomas Herbert, of Ropewalk Chambers, represented Kelly Peat and Dianne Gillibrand at the inquest into the death of Kelly’s daughter, Amber Peat.
Speaking on behalf of Kelly, Amy Robinson, of East Midlands-based law firm Nelsons, said: “Like all parents, Kelly knows she is not perfect but she has done, and continues to be, the best parent she can for her children. She has been subjected to intense media and public scrutiny since Amber’s death and has remained silent until now. Some of the things that have been said have been very hurtful not only to Kelly, but her family too, and they have had a huge impact on their wellbeing."
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“The inquest has not been an easy process. Shortly before the coroner was due to provide her conclusion, the author of the serious case review, Dr Connor, requested to change her evidence when she told the court that ‘on the balance of probability’, it was likely Amber would not have taken her own life had the 11 missed opportunities not taken place. Kelly feels that it was highly unprofessional to change such crucial evidence at the last moment.
“In the space of one week, Dr Connor gave the coroner four different responses to the same question. Further, as Amber died in 2015, the professionals have had long enough to form their conclusions and uncertainty is simply not good enough. This issue has therefore given Kelly cause to be concerned about the validity of the serious case review into Amber’s death.
"While Kelly does not agree with all of the coroner's findings, the coroner’s conclusion was that with the right assessment and support from the education, health and social care agencies involved with Amber and her family, it is possible that Amber’s life may not have ended the way it did and when it did.
“The coroner also determined that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights applied in the circumstances of Amber’s death. This means the coroner has a reasonable suspicion that the state, through its various agencies, may have breached its positive duty to safeguard Amber’s life.
“Kelly wonders whether things could have been different had Amber and her family received more support and advice for Amber’s behaviour. She proactively sought help on numerous occasions with Amber, and tried to work with the agencies as much as possible. Kelly was always willing to engage with any support offered, but no one got to the bottom of why Amber behaved the way that she did. While nothing will bring Amber back, Kelly is keen to ensure that the authorities learn from their mistakes, make the changes needed, and support families more in the future.
“The coroner also told the court that she could not ascertain Amber’s intention at the time of her death. Kelly will always wonder why Amber did what she did. She and her family find it impossible to believe that Amber purposely set out to take her own life. Kelly feels strongly that Amber would not have meant to deliberately harm herself or mean for this to happen.
“Now the inquest has concluded, Kelly would like to bring the focus back to Amber. She and her family will do all that they can to ensure Amber’s memory is kept alive, and they will forever remember her as a wonderful, loving, clever, kind, inquisitive and beautiful girl. A girl who loved reading, who was quick, clever and a true joker. Kelly will always miss her beautiful and thoughtful first-born daughter. She is always thinking about Amber, and what she would be doing now. She doubts the pain of having to live her life without her will ever go away.”