Shock as schoolgirl dies after gym wall collapses

A policeman lays flowers from a member of the public outside Liberton High School in Edinburgh
A policeman lays flowers from a member of the public outside Liberton High School in Edinburgh
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A child has died after a wall at her school collapsed on top of her – just weeks after a council was fined after a girl at the same school was seriously injured when she fell down a broken-down lift shaft.

The 12-year-old girl was pronounced dead at Liberton High School in Edinburgh shortly before 10am yesterday.

A policeman lays flowers from a member of the public outside Liberton High School in Edinburgh

A policeman lays flowers from a member of the public outside Liberton High School in Edinburgh

Pupils were sent home early and parents gathered at the school gates to pay tribute to the girl, named locally and on social media as Keane Wallis-Bennett.

The police and health and safety officials have launched inquiries into the incident, which saw a wall within a PE block collapse.

Andy Gray, head of schools and community services at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This is obviously a very distressing time for all the pupils, the staff, the community of Liberton High School.

“We’re offering welfare support to anyone who needs it and we’re co-operating fully with Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive at this very difficult time.”

Superintendent Matt Richards said: “Inquiries now continue with partners from the Health and Safety Executive, and also alongside the council to make sure we get to the bottom of what has happened.

“It would be wrong to speculate about that at the moment. What I will say obviously is that our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and in particular with the school children today and hopefully they can get back to school as soon as possible.”

Shailesh Shrestha, whose son attends the school, said: “I was in a meeting when I heard what had happened and have come in to collect my son. We haven’t been told any more about it.

“It is concerning that this has happened. You just don’t expect this kind of thing to happen inside a school.”

The incident comes just weeks after Edinburgh City Council was fined £8,000 for an incident at the same school in which a girl was seriously injured when she fell more than 16ft down a broken-down lift shaft.The schoolgirl, then aged 15, suffered three fractured vertebrae, bruising over her lower back and a sprained wrist as a result.

Community figures and politicians voiced their shock and sadness in the wake of the death.First Minister Alex Salmond wrote on Twitter: “Visited school in December – thoughts today with family, pupils and staff.”

Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie, whose constituency covers the school, said: “I am deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic incident, and the thoughts of the entire community are with the family and friends of this young girl.”

Councillor Nick Cook, who represents the Liberton/Gilmerton ward, said: “It’s tragic and troubling news out of Liberton High School.

“Our thoughts are first and foremost with the family.

“But serious questions need to be asked as to how this incident managed to come about.”

It is the second tragedy to hit the school community in recent months.

In December a 13-year-old pupil, Jamie Skinner, died after collapsing on a football pitch.

The school will remain closed for the rest of this week, except for any pupils seeking emotional support or studying for upcoming exams.