Amber Peat's mum 'stopped tragic 13-year-old found hanged from seeing her gran on Mother's Day'
Amber, 13, was found hanged in bushes near her home in Mansfield, West Mids, in 2015, three days after storming out during a row with her parents over household chores.
Her grandmother Jennifer Lancaster has revealed that she last saw Amber two years before her death on Mother’s Day, 2013.
Jennifer's son, Amber's dad Adrian, split with her mum Kelly in Christmas 2012 and her gran only saw her two or three times afterwards.
Jennifer, 69, told the Mirror: "He’s no angel but there’s no excuse for Kelly to have stopped Amber’s contact with me. It was cold and cruel."
The last time Amber saw her gran she dropped round a Mother's Day card while her mum and stepdad Danny waited outside in the car.
Jennifer claims that she tried to see the schoolgirl again but Kelly had changed her number.
She added: “Amber was so loving. She spent weekends with me and every time she went home she’d leave notes saying things like ‘love you, Nanna’.”
How could Amber’s cries for help have gone unheard?
Her gran is convinced that more could have been done to save Amber's life.
She said: "How could Amber’s cries for help have gone unheard? People will say ‘lessons have been learned’ but it won’t bring her back.”
An inquest into Amber's death this week revealed that authorities missed 11 chances to save her life.
Amber would often run away from home and was “emotionally abused” by her stepdad Danny Peat, the Nottingham inquest was told.
The teenager made various complaints to teachers about her family life and once claimed that Mr Peat had woken her up at 1.30am and made her mop their kitchen floor.
Amber also concerned teachers when when they had to feed her a breakfast of biscuits before her SATS exams or when staff spotted her wearing baggy tracksuit bottoms to class rather than her uniform.
The youngster also complained that she had been banned from having a birthday and that her mum smashed her mobile phone up.
The coroner said Amber could still be alive if authorities had done their job properly.
Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board is likely to publish a serious case review into the circumstances around the tragic teen’s death in the coming weeks.
Concluding with a narrative verdict at the inquest at Nottingham Coroner's Court on Friday, Ms Bower said: "In evidence, both Mr and Mrs Peat sought to present as concerned parents.
"Mrs Peat said she repeatedly asked Amber what was wrong but she would not answer.
"Mrs Peat said that as soon as she heard the door slam, she went to look for Amber.
"Their behaviour in going to the supermarket and then the car wash, of leaving a missing Amber with no way of getting into the property, and of waiting some seven and a half hours before calling the police, in fact fits squarely with the picture that neither of them was concerned in the slightest when Amber left the house."
REPORTED MISSING 8 HOURS LATER
She added: "Perhaps in light of the tragic outcome, both Mr and Mrs Peat would wish to believe that they demonstrated more care when Amber went missing."
Turning to agencies involved in Amber's welfare, the coroner said: "Considering Amber's age, her emotional immaturity and her undoubted vulnerability, and the absence of any professional ever having properly assessed Amber's risk of self harm or suicide, I am not able to determine, on the balance of probabilities, Amber's intention at the time of her death.
"My task has been hindered by the lack of information gathered by professionals as to Amber's thoughts, wishes and feelings.
"If the right questions had been asked, the information may have presented itself but I cannot speculate as to what that information may have indicated."
Mr and Mrs Peat admitted that neither of them were worried when Amber stormed out of her home in Bosworth Street, Mansfield, on May 30, 2015, because they believed she was "close by" and expected her to return.
Despite the youngster having a history of running away, Mrs Peat only called police to report her missing nearly eight hours later, at 12.56 am the following day.
She admitted she should have called sooner, when she gave evidence at the inquest.
The couple decided to go shopping, have the family car washed and have tea, during the time the youngster was missing.
Although up to 400 police staff were involved in the search for Amber, her body was only recovered on June 2.
Ms Bower concluded the medical cause of death was hanging.
Speaking on behalf of Mrs Peat outside Nottingham Coroner’s Court, solicitor Amy Robinson 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.
“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.
“Kelly wonders whether things could have been different had Amber and her family received more support and advice for Amber’s behaviour.”
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or visit Mind’s website.
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