Amber Peat’s biological father was described as ‘nothing but a sperm donor’ and subjected to ‘vile abuse by her stepdad’, he told an inquest into his daughter’s death today.
Adrian Cook found out about the 13-year-old’s disappearance on Facebook and tried to contact her mother, Kelly Peat, for information, but was bombarded with angry insults from Danny Peat.
Danny Peat told Amber’s estranged father: ‘She is not your f****** daughter. She wants nothing to do with you. You are nothing but a sperm donor’, the inquest heard.
Peat, who ran away from home and was found dead in hedgerow three days later felt she was being ‘humiliated’ by her stepfather and cruelly forced to do household chores.
Amber Peat’s biological father Adrian Cook (pictured left) found out about the 13-year-old’s disappearance on Facebook. When he appealed for information he said he was bombarded with a angry insults from Amber’s stepfather Danny Peat (pictured right)
Adrian Cook found out about the disappearance of his daughter Amber (pictured) on Facebook and tried to contact her mother, Kelly Peat, for information
The inquest heard claims the teenager was being ’emotionally abused’ at home and subjected to a series of draconian punishments – including being told to wash every pot in the kitchen – for ‘undesirable behaviour’.
Mr Cook gave evidence to the Nottingham hearing on its ninth day after deciding to attend in person. He appeared sombre as he entered the court this morning alongside his new wife, wearing a black jacket and blue jeans.
He told coroner Laurinda Bower how he and Kelly met around 2000 and had two children including Amber before splitting on Christmas Eve 2012, when he moved out of the family home in Derby.
Mr Cook said he last saw his children in early 2013, when Amber was 10, and took them for a meal in a pub. He claimed she was ‘happy and cheerful’ – until he said he had to take her home.
Asked by Ms Bower why that was the final time he saw them, Mr Cook replied: ‘My shifts were all over the place. I tried to ring Kelly and said I would be off this week, and Kelly said I could not see them at the drop of a hat.
‘Every time I phoned her it would be inconvenient. There would be ‘family business’ to see to, or ‘we are taking them here, or there”.
‘The last time was a heated discussion. It was getting to the point where you are beaten down by it. I wanted to see the children.’
Her mother Kelly Peat (pictured) didn’t report her missing for almost eight hours after going to the supermarket and having supper
Mr Cook said that during their last conversation, Kelly told him: ‘You just can’t see them when you want to.’
The inquest heard he considered talking to a solicitor, but didn’t feel he ‘had a leg to stand on’.
At some point around March 2013, he went to their home – but found it was empty.
Mr Cook said: ‘I went to a friends’ house on the estate, but they said that one morning they woke up and they had upped and gone. I had no idea where they’d gone.’
He added the next contact he had with the Peats was on the day after Amber disappeared. Mr Cook told the hearing: ‘I found out in Facebook so I tried to contact Kelly with the number off the missing person posters.
‘I got vile abuse off Danny – ‘she is not your f****** daughter, she wants nothing to do with you, you are nothing but a sperm donor.
‘I phoned back again and spoke to Danny’s mum. I didn’t get much information. I was in deep shock about it.’
He added he didn’t know about any issues surrounding his daughter that the inquest had heard about, including her running away from home previously and problems at school.
Mr Cook’s mother Jennifer Lancaster – Amber’s grandmother – then gave evidence.
She described her granddaughter as a ‘lovely, sweet, lovable child’ who ‘liked to cuddle and play silly girly things like dressing up, and with her make-up bag’.
Mrs Lancaster said she saw Amber ‘quite frequently’ when she was young – but when her son and Kelly split up she only saw her ‘two or three’ times before her death.
One of the occasions was Valentines’ Day in 2013, when Danny wanted to cook Kelly a ‘romantic meal’ and the children went to stay with her for the weekend.
Danny Peat walks to the Nottingham inquest today alongside an unknown woman
Amber Peat’s biological father Adrian Cook (left) arrived at the inquest of his daughter’s death for the first time today, as the 13-year-old tragic schoolgirl’s grandparents prepared to give evidence
But Mrs Lancaster said Amber was ‘weepy’ because she had overheard a conversation between Kelly and her mother, Dianne Gillibrand, in which they had said she ‘wouldn’t want them.’
Mrs Lancaster said: ‘I told them I would always want them. How can you not want two little children like that, that give you so much pleasure? It struck me as odd.’
Mrs Lancaster next saw the young siblings on Mother’s Day 2013, but they couldn’t stop for long because Kelly was waiting in her car outside.
She gave them a pair of charm bracelets, and expected to see them again before she went into hospital that April for a knee operation – but never did.
She told the hearing: ‘I got a message from Kelly to say they loved the bracelets, and that was it. I bought them Easter eggs and sent a message to see if they would be coming for them.
‘And I wanted to get Amber a birthday present because I was going in hospital. But the message (back) was, ‘don’t know, not sure’. That was it.’
Mrs Lancaster added that she went to the family home in a bid to see them – but found they had moved.
When she contacted Kelly to ask for the new address – only to be told: ‘I am not comfortable with you having it.’
She said: ‘I thought, ‘this is really strange’, but that is the way it was.’
Daniel Peat said to police that Amber’s her ‘only hobby was reading and she had no real friends’
Mrs Lancaster found out Amber had gone missing through her sister, and ‘panicked’. She said she had no concerns about her granddaughter’s behaviour, and what had happened ‘came as a shock’.
Referring to the Peats, she said: ‘They trust you with their kids and then stop you seeing them, and the next thing you know she is missing.
‘It’s horrible, it really is horrible.
‘I phoned Kelly’s number and Danny answered, and I said, ‘where is my granddaughter?’ I said I need to speak to Kelly. He said, ‘she does not want anything to do with that side of the family. So what do you do?’
Pausing to wipe away tears, Mrs Lancaster added: ‘When she (Amber) passed away, I did not even get to see her at the undertakers. They had to contact Kelly.
‘I did not realise until that point just how cruel she could be. And it is cruel. That is how it is.’
The inquest also heard from Kelly’s mother, Dianne Gillibrand.
She described Amber as having a ‘distinctive laugh’ with a ‘vibration’, adding: ‘You would hear her before she entered the room.
‘You would see this long black hair flying around the corner, then these beautiful eyes. She had beautiful bone structure.’
Asked by Ms Bower what Amber enjoyed, Mrs Gillibrand said: ‘She liked anything adrenalin-filled. She hated sitting still.’
Referring to Danny, Mrs Gillibrand said: ‘Amber met him, she found him good enough. She enjoyed his company.
‘She chose to call him ‘dad’ and the children chose to name themselves ‘Peat’.
‘She said, ‘he has been more of a dad to me than my own dad, and we want to become Peats’.
As the inquest into Peat’s death in 2015 continued into it’s second week, a coroner heard she stormed out of the family home after being told to ‘wash every pot in the house’.
On one occasion, Peat had been woken at 1.30am and told to mop the floors, the inquest in Nottingham was told.
Kelly Peat, and step father Danny Peat appeal for missing Amber to come home – but by that time she was already dead
In yesterday’s hearing, Kelly Peat showed ‘no emotion’ after the 13-year-old fled and gave ‘rehearsed’ information to police before putting Amber’s disappearance down to ‘attention-seeking’, a police officer who was called to the incident said.
Amber’s mother and step-father Danny Peat didn’t report her missing for almost eight hours after going to the supermarket and having supper.
It came as the last man to see her alive told the Nottingham inquest into her death that detectives turned up at his door two days after he reported it to them.
Adam Lamb said the police asked if they could walk to where he last spotted Amber at 5.20pm on May 30 2015 and she was found hanging in the hedgerow nearby.
The coroner has been told the vulnerable teenager was being ’emotionally abused’ at home and subjected to a series of draconian punishments for ‘undesirable behaviour’.
On one occasion, she claimed she had been been awoken by her stepfather at 1.30am and told to mop floors as a punishment for failing to fulfil domestic chores.
Amber vanished at around 5.10pm – but wasn’t reported missing until 12.56am the following day, after her parents had their dinner and went shopping.
Tragically she was already dead by that point.
The eighth day of the four-week inquest heard from PC Nicola Roe, who was one of the first officers to respond to the missing persons call from Kelly.
She went to the family home with a colleague and was told by the 37-year-old that Amber had stormed out of the house after being asked to clean out a cool box.
Asked by coroner Laurinda Bower for her observations about Kelly, PC Roe replied: ‘She was quite matter-of-fact about how she was describing the situation.’
The officer said she ‘wasn’t really surprised’ because ‘people present differently’, adding: ‘She seemed tired but not particularly emotional. Not upset, maybe frustrated.
‘She explained the background that she had gone missing previously in similar circumstances, and referred to her throwing temper tantrums and attention-seeking behaviour.’
PC Roe said the family ‘seemed quite well rehearsed in giving information to the police’, and ‘the general consensus was they expected her back the next morning’.
She added: ‘They said she normally came back at night and that is why they left it quite late to report it.’
The inquest also heard from PC Kay Yelland, who visited the family home more than 24 hours after Amber walked out in order to ‘gain more information’, and found a ‘group of people’ gathered there.
The family did not report Amber missing until they had ‘been to Tesco and had their tea’. Pictured above the missing poster which was put up once it had been reported that Amber was missing
Asked by Ms Bower if the atmosphere was ’emotionally charged’ and ‘people were upset’, PC Yelland replied: ‘No, not really.’
She added the response at the property was ‘just matter-of-fact’ when quizzed by the coroner about how she’d describe it.
PC Yelland went on to tell the hearing about a comment Amber’s stepfather, Danny Peat, made about her.
She said: ‘He told me her only hobby was reading and she had no real friends.’
The inquest heard Amber’s disappearance was initially classed as ‘medium’ risk before later being upgraded to ‘high’ – although this wouldn’t have made a ‘material difference’ to the response.
Chief Inspector Christopher Sullivan said: ‘It felt very much to me this was a teenager, albeit only just a teenager, who had pushed the boundaries beyond what they normally had, and although there was concern, medium risk was appropriate.’
Ms Bower then read a statement from Mansfield resident Adam Lamb who told how he saw a girl, thought to be Amber, at around 5.50pm on the day she went missing.
He described how he and his wife were cleaning their cars when he spotted a young girl approach.
Mr Lamb said: ‘She was walking towards me. I was blocking the pavement and I began to move out of the way.
‘She looked at me and smiled as if to say thanks. She was chewing on her left sleeve.
‘I watched her approach the junction. She then walked across the junction and onto a green area. She then began hanging around the leafy area.
‘I thought it was odd she was hanging around there on her own. I spoke to my wife briefly and moments later she was no longer there.’ Mr Lamb added he thought the girl had ‘walked off’.
He contacted police with the sighting the following day after his wife saw a news story about Amber’s disappearance on Facebook.
The inquest heard two officers went to the area – but they didn’t speak to Mr Lamb and failed to spot Amber.
Two days later Mr Lamb was visited by a detective, who asked him to show where he had last seen the girl.
Detective Constable Karl Aram told the court how they ‘stumbled across’ a tiny gap in the ‘very dense’ hedgerow – and when he leant inside he immediately saw a girl’s body.
He added: ‘She was facing me. It was immediately clear to me she was dead. She was completely motionless.’
The officer added he could sign no sign that a note had been left. The inquest continues.