Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

When cows attack – Dairy farmer cleared of manslaughter

A Nottinghamshire farmer, Paul Waterfall, has been cleared of manslaughter charges after a rambler was charged and repeatedly tossed in the air by grazing cattle as the rambler crossed a public footpath.  There was a bull in the field, a brown Swiss bull, however it could not be established whether it was the bull which had attacked the rambler.

Following the death in May of a holidaymaker in Derbyshire, who was trampled to death by cattle, another walker who suffered a cow attack in Cornwall has called for a change in the law.

Emma Smith was attacked when walking her dog in Cornwall last year.  She was butted, trampled and then rolled on, suffering crushed ribs, punctured lungs, facial fractures and serious internal injuries.  Ms Smith has called for a change in the law to prevent farmers from allowing cows and calves to graze on footpaths.  Ian Johnson, the NFU southwest spokesman calls for a sense of perspective, saying that it would be impractical to separate cows and calves from footpaths given the number of cattle and thousands of miles of public rights of way around Britain.

Lee Hart, Partner recently successfully concluded a claim by the widow and estate of a Somerset farmer who was tragically killed when herding his dairy cows from a nearby field towards the milking parlour on his farm.  He was at the rear of the herd on his quad bike with his son leading the herd.  A fire engine approached the cows from the front and initially the driver turned off his sirens and lights on approaching the cows in the road.  Unable to pass the herd he put his lights and sirens back on and tried to force his way through.  The herd became startled by the sirens and stampeded, crushing the farmer.  Sadly, he sustained traumatic brain injury, chest injuries and multiple other injuries.  He was air lifted to hospital for treatment but tragically he failed to recover and passed away six days later.

The fire engine driver faced charges of manslaughter and causing death by dangerous driving.  He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving, for which he was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

If you have been involved in an incident where animals have caused death or injury and would like some advice about a potential claim, please contact Lee Hart.