Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

June 30, 2015

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Inquest jury rules cow crush death as accidental

The death of a man who was trampled by a herd of cows in a field was an accident, an inquest jury has found. The incident followed three previous attacks in the same and neighbouring fields, after which HSE explained to the farmer his duty to “reduce the risk as far as one possibly can”.

The jury heard how former Edinburgh University lecturer Mike Porter and his brother were knocked to the ground by the herd as they crossed a field near Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire in May 2013.

The 66-year-old and his brother John, 74, had been walking their dogs on leads on a public footpath through Elbow Field, in Turleigh, when they were attacked. A witness described the cows “going mad” as they surrounded the men. The younger brother died at the scene.

Mr Porter’s death followed a previous attack in Elbow Field, in 2008 and two in a neighbouring field in 2011. Following these incidents HSE had visited the farmer, Brian Godwin, to explain his duty to reduce risk.

Mr Porter’s brother told the inquest on at Salisbury Coroner’s Court how the herd knocked them down repeatedly and seemed to “deliberately trample” on them “as if it was something they really wanted to do”.

The inquest heard that of the 57 animals on the farm at the time of Mr Porter’s death, 49 were continental breeds or cross-breeds.

Thirty-one had been there during three previous attacks, but there was no evidence about which cows in particular were involved.

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Related Topics

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bob Wallace
Bob Wallace
8 years ago

At last, someone showing some sense when it comes to members of the public entering areas where animals are at large. Why have we forgotten that animals are unpredictable and entry into their domain is something to be undertaken with a degree of caution. Farm animals often distrust dogs, especially when their young are around; so their reaction is to be considered. Why do the HSE expect farmers to control animals in the vicinity of walkers on public footpaths! What do they do, give up good pasture for ramblers etc.??? We have become so cossetted in the UK, that we… Read more »

steve paul
steve paul
8 years ago

maybe he should have rounded the herd up and given them a tool box talk on pedestrian safety. hse eh? mostly now a bunch of graduates who have never had a proper job. but there agin thinking where there is blame there is a claim.

isnt it about time individuals took responsibility for their own actions, taking dogs, regardless of whether leashed, into a field where other livestock are present is asking for trouble.