“Relief” at result of enquiry felt by father of tragic Liberton High schoolgirl

Keane Wallis-Bennett
Keane Wallis-Bennett

THE dad of tragic schoolgirl Keane Wallis-Bennett – who was killed when a wall collapsed at Liberton High – said today that he was relieved to learn no-one would be charged over her death.

However, a Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held into the full circumstances of the horror incident.

The Crown Office said it made the decision following an investigation into the April 2014 tragedy.

Twelve-year-old Keane’s dad told the Evening News that his family hadn’t wanted to endure a criminal trial and would now focus on trying to rebuild their lives. Clark Bennett, 50, who now lives in Inverness, said: “I knew it was never going to happen. And now the Fatal Accident Inquiry will be starting in March.

“The outcome of the FAI will hopefully give Keane’s mum and me a way to know exactly what happened that morning.

“This decision has given myself and the rest of my family a bit of closure. I have been dealing with the police and my lawyer every second day, how can I move on with that going on?”

The criminal ruling could be reconsidered if new evidence comes to light, the Crown said, after the FAI examines the full circumstances of her death.

The probe will also examine the safety of internal freestanding walls.

Andrew Kerr, city council chief executive, said: “We have been notified by the Crown Office that they intend to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the tragic death of Keane Wallis-Bennett.

“The council will co-operate fully with the inquiry and hope that its findings and recommendations ensure that a tragedy like this can never happen again.”

Keane was killed when a modesty wall in the school’s PE block collapsed, sparking urgent checks at schools across the city.

Liberton’s gym hall has since been demolished on the wishes of school staff and parents.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “After giving the case careful consideration, Crown counsel have concluded, based on the available evidence, that there will be no criminal proceedings brought as a result of the death. Should additional evidence come to light, that decision may be reconsidered.

“Crown counsel have decided that it is in the public interest to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry to examine the full circumstances surrounding this tragic death to help avoid such an incident happening again in the future.

“The Fatal Accident Inquiry will have an opportunity to consider the safety of internal freestanding walls.”

The case was investigated by police and the Health and Safety Executive under the direction of the Crown’s health and safety division.

The death shocked the school and led to hundreds of tributes, including a song recorded by friends in memory of Keane that made it into the top 100 on the download chart in December 2014.