Calls For Better Countryside Safety After Man Trampled To Death By Cows

Inquest Hears Cattle In Wiltshire Field Have Caused Injury Before


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Specialist injury lawyers representing the family of a man who died after being trampled on by stampeding cows in a field in Wiltshire say more needs to be done to keep walkers safe in the countryside as an inquest hears of previous injuries in the same field.

Mike Porter died from internal bleeding on 13 May 2013 after being attacked by cows while walking through a field near Turleigh in Wiltshire while visiting his brother. The 66-year-old was a retired Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at Edinburgh University.

His long term partner Adrienne Sillar, who still lives in Edinburgh, has instructed specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his death and to represent her at the Inquest.

The Inquest at the Coroner’s Court in Salisbury heard that in the years before Mike’s death, several others had suffered serious injuries after similar attacks by cattle in the same field and that some locals no longer walk through because it is ‘dangerous’. The jury returned a conclusion of accidental death as a result of injuries sustained following an attack by a herd of cows as he followed a public right of way. They also gave a narrative saying that they took into account the following:

  1. The number of previous incidents in the field
  2. Health and Safety Executive involvement and advice given to the farmer
  3. A lack of separation between cattle and the public.

In April 2008 a man called Simon Dark was trampled and suffered a fractured collarbone and numerous cuts and bruises. Bleddyn Griffiths tried to assist Simon and suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung. In October 2011 David Billington was trampled and suffered two broken vertebrae, a broken nose and various cuts and bruises.

Keith Cundall, a specialist serious injury solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing Adrienne, said: “Mike’s death has left his family devastated and after two years they were still seeking answers as to whether more could and should have been to prevent the tragic events occurring.

“The field is a popular walking spot but there are concerns regarding previous incidents of cows injuring people in the same field both in 2008 and 2011. More needs to be done to improve countryside safety for walkers, particularly in areas such as this where there is a clear issue of whether the field in question should be a public right of way and if so, whether cows should share the enclosure.

“This highlights how serious incidents involving cattle stampedes can be.”

Mike was visiting his brother but as they were walking across the field, along a public footpath, they noticed cows crossing the path in front of them. They stopped and allowed the cows to cross to the other side of the path but a couple of the cows came and walked behind them before suddenly knocking them to the ground. The cows encircled the two men, and two of the cows pounded them on the ground.

Several passers and neighbours saw the attack while a man driving by stopped his van before rattling a gate to distract the cows while John and Mike could escape the field. Mike died of internal bleeding shortly afterwards while John was airlifted to hospital.

The field is currently still a public right of way for walkers with cows in the same field but Mike’s family also hope changes are made to improve safety.

Adrienne, who was with Mike for 35 years, said: “It has been very difficult over the past two years for us to come to terms with losing Mike. He was loving, kind and gentle we are lost without him. He was very fit and active and loved walking, having been on treks all over the world.

“It’s difficult to understand why nothing was done to change the field or the right of way after the earlier attacks. We hope that lessons will be learned from this tragic incident so that no others have to go through what we have.”