Nottingham

Amber Peat 'loved her mum' and 'didn't mean to die'

Amber Peat
Image caption Amber was found hanged after going missing from her house in Mansfield

The grandmother of a 13-year-old girl who went missing and was later found hanged has told an inquest she had no reason to kill herself.

Amber Peat "loved her mum" and was well looked after according to her maternal grandmother Dianne Gillibrand.

The teenager was found dead three days after going missing following a row over cleaning a cool box in May 2015.

The inquest has previously heard how Amber complained to teachers about being punished and made to do chores.

'Small chores'

Mrs Gillibrand said her daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Daniel Peat, did punish Amber for bad behaviour, but also used to reward her for good behaviour too.

"It's a reward and take away," she explained.

"So when they did something good they would get rewards. Amber liked books so they would go to the bookshop and get some books," she said.

Another reward was going on an outing, and Amber was also praised, she said.

"Take away, from what I can remember, was you would take away one toy or an outing was stopped, or there was a small chore to do like washing pots," Mrs Gillibrand said.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionKelly and Daniel Peat appeared at a press conference in the days following Amber's disappearance

Amber went missing from her home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, on 30 May 2015 and was found hanged in bushes on 2 June.

The inquest has previously heard that Amber's stepfather forced her to wear "ridiculous" trousers to school to humiliate her, and that she was woken up in the night to finish chores.

But Mrs Gillibrand said Amber "got on well" with her stepfather and apparently said of him: "He has been more of a dad to me than my own dad ever was and we want to become Peats."

She said Amber also "adored her mum".

'Temper tantrums'

Mrs Gillibrand said: "I don't think she meant to die because she loved her mum; always wanted to be with her mum and said 'when I grow up I'm going to live with my mum forever'."

She described Amber as "very loud and excitable" but said she "developed a temper" when she hit puberty.

She said: "Her hormones were all over the place. She was changing.

"For the temper tantrums I tried to give her techniques to deal with it. I told her to count to ten. I told her to take some deep breaths."

As Mrs Gillibrand concluded her evidence, the coroner asked her: "So as far as you are concerned, there is no reasonable explanation for why Amber would take steps to end her life?"

Mrs Gillibrand said: "No. I don't believe it. I will never believe it."

Image caption Amber's biological father and paternal grandmother said they were stopped from seeing her

Amber's paternal grandmother Jennifer Lancaster also gave evidence, as did Amber's biological father Adrian Cook.

Mr Cook said he split up with Amber's mother on Christmas Eve 2012 and had little contact with Amber and her younger sister afterwards.

He claimed Amber's mother, then called Kelly Pickford, made it difficult for him to see his children.

"The last time I saw them was January or February, I can't remember," he said.

"My shifts were all over the place. I said 'when I've got my rota I will ring you". She said 'no you can't see them that night because we are going here or we are going there'.

"Every time I phoned up it was inconvenient."

Mr Cook said he later visited the family home but his former partner had moved, and he could not find out where she had gone.

Image copyright Other
Image caption The inquest has previously heard how Amber complained to teachers about being punished and made to do chores

Mrs Lancaster said she had regular contact with Amber when her son was in a relationship with Amber's mother, but only saw her two or three times after they separated.

The final time was on Mother's Day 2013, she said.

Mrs Lancaster said she tried to speak to Amber's mother after she went missing, but Mr Peat answered the phone. She said she was told: "She doesn't want nothing to do with that side of the family."

Mrs Lancaster also said she was not allowed to see Amber's body at the undertakers.

"I didn't realise until that point how cruel she could be," Mrs Lancaster said.

Amber's death was investigated by police but no criminal charges were brought.

The inquest will continue on Monday, when Amber's mother and stepfather are due to give evidence.

Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Instagram. Send your story ideas to eastmidsnews@bbc.co.uk.

Related Topics

More on this story