Girl found hanged in bushes reported missing eight hours after storming out

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 found three days after she went missing from her home after a row with her mother over household chores.

Nottingham Coroner’s Court heard the argument was about cleaning a cool box which was used to store food on a recent family holiday in Cornwall – where the 13-year-old had hatched plans to run away with her cousin.

The youngster’s mother Kelly Peat had heard the front door “slam shut” shortly after the dispute at around 5.10pm on May 30, 2015, at the home on Bosworth Street in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

The inquest heard a passer-by had seen somebody of Amber’s description enter a hedgerow area near the address around 40 minutes later.

Amber Peat death
A poster on a car windscreen during the search (PA)

Although up to 400 police staff were involved in the search for Amber, her body was only recovered on June 2.

Despite the youngster having a history of running away, Mrs Peat only called police to report her missing at 12.56am on May 31.

Detective Constable Tina Gilfoyle, of Nottinghamshire Police, said Mrs Peat and Amber’s stepfather Danny Peat had been to Tesco and had tea while the youngster was missing.

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

The Peat’s decided to move to Mansfield after concerns about Amber running away and that she may have been “groomed by a paedophile”.

Ms Gilfoyle said: “The reason for wanting to move was that Amber had been running away and there were concerns the she may have been groomed by a paedophile.

“There were no social workers allocated in her lifetime but there had been an assessment of the family.”

Addressing statements given by the younger members on the extended family holiday, Ms Gilfoyle said: “They reported Amber had been troubled quite a lot there.

Amber Peat death
A couple light candles at the scene where 13-year-old Amber Peat was found (Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

“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’.

“(On the list) was a wig, a torch and some rope to run away and her cousin thought it was a joke.”

Ms Gilfoyle said Amber’s stepfather had threatened to hit her after she had “scowled” at him on the way back from the holiday.

She said: “In the car on the way home, she had taken some cherryade without asking and had been scowling at Danny Peat.

“She was made to sit in the very rear of the family car.

“Danny Peat said if she scowled at him again he would hit her.”

Summarising what had 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.

“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 Peat death
Police officers walk along a footpath after searching for evidence where the body of missing girl Amber Peat was found (Joe Giddens/PA)

Detailing what Mr and Mrs Peat did before they called the police, Ms Gilfoyle said: “They went to Tesco’s and did some shopping and had their tea.

“The matter was reported to police by Kelly Peat at 12.56am on May 31, 2015.”

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

Mrs Holt said: “She was quite an unhappy child, that stands out most in my head. She never really seemed happy.

“She felt very put upon at home. She said she had a lot of jobs to do that her siblings weren’t expected to do… and she wasn’t treated fairly in comparison to her siblings.

“She would be a little bit dramatic about things. She was quite emotional at times as well.”

Mrs Holt added: “She told me that she felt her mum loved her sister more than she loved her and that her sibling was the favourite.”

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.

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