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Family tribute to 'princess who dreamed of being Prime Minister'

THE family of a schoolgirl crushed to death by a collapsed changing room wall have paid tribute to their "princess who dreamed of being Prime Minister".

OUR PRINCESS: Keane's family paid an emotional tribute to the 12-year-old Liberton High pupil who was killed when a wall collapsed.
OUR PRINCESS: Keane's family paid an emotional tribute to the 12-year-old Liberton High pupil who was killed when a wall collapsed.

As an investigation continued into how the modesty wall at a high school in the south of Edinburgh came to topple on top of Keane Wallis-Bennett, the 12-year-old's loved ones released an emotional statement.

It read: "Keane will be sadly missed by all her family and friends. She was our princess who dreamed of being Prime Minister. But failing that, a beautician.

"She loved her girlfriends and her days out shopping with lunches and all things girly. She recently attended her first under-18s disco and loved every second of it and was excited to be going to see One Direction in concert."

Liberton High School, which was built in 1959, has been closed and is being surveyed by structural inspectors and examined by police and health and safety experts.

A number of other schools in the capital were being checked yesterday for signs of potential danger and "immediate action" will be taken if any risk is found.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, MSP for the Edinburgh Eastern area, said he did not believe there were wider problems with health and safety at the school. He said: "Notwithstanding the difficulties with fragmenting and fraying to the fabric, it's a good school in which the head and past head have done a remarkable job in making it a very good school for the local community."

Prime Minister David Cameron described the accident as "absolutely shocking" and said lessons should be learned to ensure such incidents cannot happen again.

Edinburgh City Council said a survey of all its schools was carried out in 2012 and 2013 and no concerns were found with the free-standing wall at Liberton High. The school will not reopen this week and a survey will be finished before pupils return from the Easter break in three weeks.

Liberton Northfield church held a vigil and opened a book of condolences as a sea of tributes were laid at the school.

A Facebook page had received 14,500 messages of support by yesterday afternoon.

Headteacher Stephen Kelly also paid tribute. He said: "Keane was an excellent pupil who had a bright and bubbly personality and got on well with others in class. She was a popular team player, who took an active role in projects.

"She showed a lot of sporting ability and was really eager to contribute to the school for example by clearing litter. She had a real presence in class and her friends and my staff are deeply shocked and upset at what has happened.

"Counselling staff are continuing to support our staff and pupils and I would encourage any pupils who want to talk to someone to take up the help available."

Paul Godzik, education chief at City of Edinburgh Council, said: "As a parent, I, like parents across the city and across the country, am shocked and saddened I would like to send my deepest sympathies to Keane's family, friends and the whole school community.It is important we find out exactly what happened here and as a council we are working closely with the police and Health and Safety Executive as investigations continue. The council is carrying out inspections today in all schools which may have similar walls and, if required, immediate action will be taken."

The city council was recently fined £8000 after a Liberton pupil was injured falling down a lift shaft at the school in December 2011.

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