COMMENT: Amber Peat - National newspaper story has gone too far

A national newspaper has today published some fairly major allegations centred on the family of Amber Peat.

I’m not going to repeat these allegations here but they’re up there in cyberspace for anyone who wants to take a look, as I’m sure many already have.

At the Chad we’ve heard many of these allegations as well but took the decision not to publish them, based on advice from lawyers but also, and more importantly, out of respect for Amber.

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I’m sure many of you have read our investigations into Amber’s tragic death, and throughout our coverage we have worked extremely hard to get at the truth but also not to trample all over the grief of friends, family and neighbours.

We have tried to balance keeping our communities informed without being sensationalist. All of our reports have been based entirely on what we know, and what we can prove. We have tried very hard to work with the people of Mansfield as their (your) local news provider.

It is also really important to remember that there are ongoing investigations into Amber’s death. The county council has confirmed that a Serious Case Review is underway. A file is also being prepared for Nottinghamshire’s Coroner.

It is absolutely vital that anything we report here at the Chad does not preempt the findings of these investigations because they are legal inquiries and out of respect for Amber and for the legal process, we need to report their findings - and not try and sell papers on the back of rumour and accusation.

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The other thing that is at the centre of this is the difference between the local press and the national media.

At the Chad, the stories that we produce are regularly hoovered up by the nationals, and in fairness hardly a week goes by when something that turns up in one ‘red top’ or another - or on the regional BBC and ITV news - hasn’t started out as a Chad exclusive.

When Amber went missing the Chad reported it first, as a simple missing person story - but within a day the town had been invaded by national newspaper reporters and TV crews, who came in mob-handed with all the resources that these organisations can muster.

After Amber’s body was found, they all packed up and left.

And that is the real difference between how the Chad covered Amber’s disappearance and subsequent death.

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We can’t turn up, trample all over a community and then leave.

We work with our community and we are accountable to the community that we serve.

We will continue to probe and to explore the circumstances of Amber’s life and death, and like many of our readers, we look forward to the day when the full story is told.

However, we will continue to work with respect and consideration - for Amber and her family, for the legal process and for our readers.

Andy Done-Johnson

Content Editor

Mansfield Chad.