Mark Turley probe was to look at Liberton tragedy

Mark Turley has quit his job as director of services for communities. Picture: Jayne Emsley

Mark Turley has quit his job as director of services for communities. Picture: Jayne Emsley

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THE abandoned investigation into former city council director Mark Turley was to focus on the fatal collapse of the wall at Liberton High School as well as the ashes scandal at Mortonhall, it was claimed today.

Council chiefs said they would no longer proceed with their probe into Mr Turley after he quit his £123,000-a-year job as director of services for communities last week.

When he was suspended eight weeks previously, chief executive Sue Bruce told councillors it was related to “a number of matters requiring due consideration”.

But in his resignation statement, Mr Turley referred only to Mortonhall, saying he did not believe he had contributed to any wrongdoing at the crematorium – but as the director with ultimate accountability he believed it was right he should do “the honourable thing”.

However, senior sources said the ashes scandal was not the only issue which the inquiry was due to be examined.

The massive services for communities department covers the controversial areas of statutory repairs and the bin collections, but also the corporate property division, responsible for maintenance and repair of most council-owned buildings such as libraries and schools.

Twelve-year-old Keane Wallis-Bennett died when a “wobbly” modesty wall collapsed on top of her at Liberton High in April while she was changing for PE.

Since then, similar walls at 13 school campuses across the city have been strengthened or demolished as a precaution.

A survey of all city schools had been carried out between 2012 and 2013.

Liberton High was B-rated, meaning it was deemed to be “performing adequately but showing minor deterioration” and required “significant levels of investment” to get the fabric of the building up to scratch.

But no concerns were identified with the wall.

Council chiefs today refused to comment on what the investigation into Mr ­Turley was to look at.

But a council source said it was intended to cover several different areas, including ­Liberton High.

The source said: “This was as much about Liberton High as Mortonhall.”

Opposition councillors have criticised the decision to call off the internal investigation, describing it as an insult to the people of Edinburgh, and called for an end to the “secretive culture of cosy 
agreements”.

The council has refused to say whether Mr Turley has received a pay-off, though insiders said there had been two weeks of talks over the terms of his departure.

Estimates of the golden handshake ranged from three months’ extra pay to a full year’s salary.

The council said responsibility for maintenance and repair of schools had moved to the corporate property division in 2006 and the division had become part of the services for communities department in 2010.