Amber Peat: Schoolgirl found dead in bushes after storming out from family argument, inquest hears

Thirteen-year-old Amber Peat walked out after she was told to clean cool box used during family holiday, coroner's court told

Chiara Giordano
Monday 28 January 2019 20:00
Tributes paid to teenager Amber Peat

A schoolgirl who was found hanged after a family argument was only reported missing to police by her parents nearly eight hours after she stormed out, an inquest heard.

Amber Peat’s body was discovered three days after she went missing in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, after a row with her mother.

A coroner’s court heard the argument began after the 13-year-old was asked to clean a cool box which had been used to store food on an extended family holiday in Cornwall.

Her mother Kelly Peat had heard the front door “slam shut” shortly after the dispute at about on the evening of 30 May, 2015.

The inquest heard a passer-by saw somebody of Amber’s description enter a hedgerow area near the family home about 40 minutes later.

Although up to 400 police staff were involved in the search for Amber, who had a history of running away, her body was only recovered on 2 June.

Detective Constable Tina Gilfoyle, of Nottinghamshire Police, said Ms Peat and Amber’s stepfather Danny Peat had been to Tesco and had tea before reporting the youngster missing in the early hours of 31 May.

Providing background of the teenager’s disappearance, Ms Gilfoyle said the family had moved 11 times in Amber’s lifetime.

Ms Gilfoyle told the inquest: “The reason for wanting to move [to Mansfield] was that Amber had been running away and there were concerns she may have been groomed by a paedophile. “here were no social workers allocated in her lifetime but there had been an assessment of the family.”

Flowers and tributes lay at the scene in Westfield Lane, Mansfield, where a body was found during the search for missing 13-year-old girl Amber Peat in Mansfield.

Referring to statements given by younger members of their family about their extended holiday, Ms Gilfoyle said: “They reported Amber had been troubled quite a lot there. There had been lots of arguments – she had been prevented from going to the beach, and together with her cousin she had written a ‘run away list’.”

Ms Gilfoyle said Amber’s stepfather had threatened to hit her after she took some Cherryade without asking and “scowled” at him on the way back from the holiday.

Summarising what happened on the day Amber disappeared, Ms Gilfoyle said: “She was trying to get her mum’s attention but her mum shuts the door on her, leaving Amber alone in the hallway.

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“A short while later, the door slams and Amber is gone. They went up the street and Kelly thought she saw someone in the bushes but when they went, there was no-one there.”

Amber’s former teacher at John Davies Primary School in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Joanna Holt, said she had always seemed “unhappy”.

“She felt very put upon at home,” she said. “She said she had a lot of jobs to do that her siblings weren’t expected to do.”

The inquest heard there was no evidence of physical neglect and no sign that Amber was malnourished at the time of her death.

Home Office pathologist Frances Hollingbury said there were no traces of alcohol or drugs in her body and no suggestion of a mental illness.

For confidential support in the UK, contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

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