Nottingham

Amber Peat 'lied about being punished by stepfather'

Amber Peat
Image caption Amber went missing from her home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, on 30 May 2015 and was found hanged in bushes three days later

The mother and stepfather of a girl found hanged in bushes have told an inquest she lied about being given punishments and chores to do at home.

Amber Peat, 13, told a teacher her stepfather woke her up in the night to finish chores and forced her to wear baggy grey jogging bottoms to school.

However, Kelly and Daniel Peat both said these allegations were untrue.

In fact, Mrs Peat said her daughter had chosen to wear the grey jogging bottoms to school herself.

Mr Peat said he was not even there when his stepdaughter left for school wearing the jogging bottoms.

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Media captionKelly and Daniel Peat appeared at a press conference in the days following Amber's disappearance

"Nobody made her wear them," Mr Peat said.

"I had nothing to do with it."

Mrs Peat said Amber had been "adamant she wanted to wear them", but the coroner Laurinda Bower pointed out Amber had arrived at school "sobbing".

She asked Mrs Peat: "Do you have any idea why Amber, having chosen to wear this outfit, a short time later attended her form and told her form tutor she had been made to wear this ridiculous outfit by her stepfather as punishment?"

Mrs Peat replied: "I don't know why she would have said that."

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

Image caption Amber had a door "shut in her face" before going to hang herself

Amber told the same form tutor that Mr Peat forced her to carry her belongings to school in a plastic bag as punishment, but Mr and Mrs Peat said this was a lie too.

"We bought her a school bag that came back broken," said Mrs Peat.

"I told her to grab anything, she needed something."

Amber's stepfather said: "There were several occasions Amber came home without her school bag. I wasn't aware of somebody saying 'you must take the carrier bag'."

When asked about Amber apparently being woken up at night to finish chores, Mr and Mrs Peat both said this was not true either.

Mr Peat said Amber was made to do chores as punishment, but it was usually just "to wash the pots".

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Image caption The inquest previously heard that Amber complained to her teacher about being punished and made to do chores

Mr and Mrs Peat told the inquest about the last moments they saw Amber alive, in which she had a door "shut in her face" as the coroner described it.

The inquest previously heard Amber was upset after being asked to clean a cool box.

Mr and Mrs Peat both said they were sitting in the living room while Amber was in the hallway. Their accounts of what happened next differed after this point.

Amber's mother told the inquest: "She was stood in the hallway with the cool box in her hand and she was just staring at me. I asked her what was going on but she was just staring at me.

"I kept asking her 'What's wrong? What's going on?'

"She stood there and she was just staring so I shut the door to."

Image caption Amber's body was found in Westfield Lane, about a mile from her home in Bosworth Street

The coroner pointed out this account differed from her police statement, in which she said Amber had repeated "Mum, Mum, Mum", before her mother apparently said she did not want to talk to her.

"Was Amber saying 'Mum, Mum, Mum?" asked the coroner.

Mrs Peat replied: "I don't remember."

Recalling the same incident, Mr Peat said Amber was saying: "You are my mum and I want to talk to you. Mum, Mum, Mum."

Mr and Mrs Peat agreed Amber had been left alone in the hallway after Mrs Peat shut the door. They then remained sitting in the living room, they said, and heard the door slam as Amber left the house.

This was at about 17:15 or 17:30 BST. Amber was reported missing almost eight hours later, by which time she had died.

Mr and Mrs Peat both told the inquest they went looking for Amber, but said they also did some shopping at Tesco, got the car washed and had a meal before calling police.

They said this was because Amber had gone missing before but usually returned home.

'Butt heads'

Amber's biological father Adrian Cook asked Mr Peat if he considered going to Tesco and having the car washed when his stepdaughter was missing as "neglecting her well-being", to which he replied "no".

Earlier, Mrs Peat told the inquest Amber and Mr Peat would sometimes "butt heads" over chores.

She said: "He would say, 'do this' and she would say no - and Danny got to the point where he wasn't getting anywhere and he would say, 'you talk to her'."

Mrs Peat also said Amber had not run away while Mr Peat had been serving time in prison for tax fraud.

The inquest continues.

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