FAI hear how pupils warned staff about '˜wobbly' school wall

Pupils warned staff about a 'wobbly' school wall on more than one occasion before its collapse resulted in the death of one of their classmates, it has been claimed.

Abbie Wallis(centre) the mother of Keane Wallis-Bennett arrives with her partner James Glendinning at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for the FAI into death of her daughter when a wall collapsed on her at Liberton High School, Edinburgh in April 2014.

It comes as a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) began in Edinburgh yesterday following the death of Liberton High School pupil Keane Wallis-Bennett.

Keane, 12, died on 1 April, 2014 when a modesty wall in her school’s PE block collapsed on top of her.

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Giving evidence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Detective Inspector Keith Hardie, of Police Scotland’s Major Investigations Unit, said a number of pupils claimed they had seen the wall move in the weeks prior to Keane’s death.

He added two said they had reported concerns to members of staff, but that staff had denied any knowledge of the children’s concerns.

One pupil claimed she had seen the wall move on three or four previous occasions, adding it had “always been a bit wobbly”.

She said: “Everyone knew it was wobbly and just accepted it. I didn’t think it was dangerous and wasn’t scared.

“I never told the teacher that the wall could move. I didn’t tell a teacher because the wall didn’t scare me.”
However, another schoolgirl said she had told three teachers about her concerns over the wall moving only to be told it was “fine”.

The court heard pupils describe in their statements that the wall had fallen over shortly after it was leant against by students as they changed their shoes.

A post-mortem examination later showed Keane died of multiple crush injuries.

The inquiry, which is expected to take about two weeks, is being presided over by Sheriff Principal Mhairi Stephen QC.

Ms Stephen said the purpose of the inquiry was to establish “as precisely” as possible the circumstances of the tragic incident.

She added: “The whole community was deeply shocked by Keane’s death – a young woman who attended school on the first of April three years ago and did not return to her family.”