Keane Wallis-Bennett FAI: Pupils recount moment their classmate died

Pupils have described the moment their 12-year-old classmate tragically died after being crushed under a falling wall at Liberton High School.
Keane Wallis-Bennett.Keane Wallis-Bennett.
Keane Wallis-Bennett.

Statements from a number of Keane Wallis-Bennett’s former classmates are currently being heard at Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court following the start of a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) this morning.

The FAI, presided over by Sheriff Principal Mhairi Stephen QC, comes after the former Liberton High pupil was killed when a modesty wall in the school’s PE block fell on her on April 1, 2014.

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The inquiry has so far heard from Detective Chief Inspector Keith Hardie, of Police Scotland’s Major Investigations Team, and is set to run for a two-week period.

A number of written statements from some of Keane’s former classmates have also been read to those in attendance.

One pupil, who was in the changing room at the time of the incident, described seeing the partition wall falling forward away from the shower wall.

In a statement to the police, she said: “It seemed to stay in one piece as it fell. The wall fell away from where I was standing and I was unhurt”

“I didn’t know at the time if anyone had been hurt.”

The court heard pupils describe the wall falling over shortly after it had been leant against as students took off their shoes to get changed for a PE lesson.

Another said in their statement: “I started to get changed and had my bag down by my feet.

“I then leant against the wall to take my shoes off.

“It started tipping forward towards the bench area.

“There was no sound of the wall cracking, the only sound was it landing on the ground - it was really noisy.”

Another pupil said the wall apparently seemed to “shuffle” forwards slightly before falling in its entirety.

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They said in their statement: “I was in shock, I didn’t know what to do.

“I was really upset about it.”

Last year it emerged that no-one would be charged over the schoolgirl’s death following an investigation by the Crown Office into the tragic incident.

In her opening statement, Sheriff Principal Stephen said the inquiry was aimed as establishing “as precisely” as possible the circumstances into Keane’s death.

She added: “However I would first of all like to place on record my personal expression of sympathy to Keane’s parents, family and friends.

“I add to that condolences on behalf of this court and everyone involved in this Inquiry.

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.”