Coroner raps council in Amber Peat inquest

The body of Amber Peat, 13, from Mansfield, was found after a desperate search. ''PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Nottinghamshire Police/PA Wire
The body of Amber Peat, 13, from Mansfield, was found after a desperate search. ''PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Nottinghamshire Police/PA Wire

A coroner criticised Derbyshire County Council for “not getting their case in order” before an inquest opened into the death of a teenage girl in Mansfield.

The inquest in Nottingham was told the council had just realised a second database, which might contain information about Amber Peat’s family, existed.

Dr Jonathan Punt apologised to assistant coroner Laurinda Bower and said a search for the database, called Synergy, was underway.

Miss Bower said: “DCC have not got their case in order. Your clients have been aware of this since Amber’s death in June 2015.”

She said Amber’s family had waited “a long time to get these answers” and were owed an apology.

Following on from evidence given in the morning, Joanne Robinson, manager of the Tibshelf Multi-Agency Team (MAT) in Derbyshire, said two workers visited the family, before they moved to Mansfield, in June 2014, but no one was in.

But Philip Turton, solicitor for Amber’s mum, said that MAT workers had met Amber’s mum, and there was no evidence that consent to transfer Amber’s records to Nottinghamshire, had been sought.

The inquest heard that Mrs Robinson has worked for DCC for 28 years in schools, adult care and children’s social care.

Amber’s parents drove around looking for her after she was reported missing, on January 11, 2014 - the fifth time she had gone missing.

And two weeks before Christmas, she was found in a field with a boy.

“There’s been a history of running away,” said Mr Turton.

He said Amber’s mum and stepdad presented as “caring parents who would like support to help Amber change her behaviour.”

Mrs Robinson said the youth worker met with Amber at her school as a “confidante” to gather information with six sessions, between February 7 and March 28, and they met informally afterwards.

On April 8, Amber’s school sought advice about referring her to social care, Mr Turton said.

About three weeks later, the school spoke to Amber’s mum and step-dad who seemed “entirely amenable” to working with the school and it was decided not to escalate the matter.

Adjourning the inquest until Thursday, Miss Bower said: “I want all of the documentation before this witness is released.

“We can’t continue without a clear picture of what information actually exists.

“This case is so old. There have been various review processes and we have reached a position in 2019 when we still don’t know if all the documentation is found. It is most unsatisfactory.”

The inquest continues.

The Chad covered the inquest this morning here, the opening here. and the second day here.