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Jury returns verdict of accidental death in cow trampling death

A coroner has urged people to be more aware of the risks of cattle while walking in the countryside after hearing the case of a rambler who was trampled to death.

Mike Porter was walking with his brother through fields near Bradford-on-Avon when they were set upon.

There were calves in the field, and the men were walking with dogs. It emerged the cattle were an unpredictable, European breed.

The coroner has sent reports to the Health and Safety Executive, the Ramblers Association and the NFU. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Our Wiltshire Correspondent Robert Murphy reports.

Inquest Day 1: What was heard

Mike Porter, a retired university lecturer, lost his life while visiting his brother John, who lives near Bath.

An inquest at Salisbury Coroner's Court heard how the pair went for a short walk in the countryside with their dogs. They noticed the cattle before and waited for the animals to move away from the pathway.

But, the inquest was told, when they went in the cattle began "milling around" the brothers, knocking them to the ground. Despite getting up they were knocked to the floor again.

The brother's escaped to another field but Mr Porter suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene.

David Billington, who lives nearby, told the court that he was also attacked by cows in a neighbouring field in October 2011. There were two more attacks, one in each field in the years proceeding Mr Porter's death.

The farmers admitted that the breed, Cross Limousin Friesians, were more excitable than some others.

Brian Godwin, the land owner, told the coroner he had thought he had done everything he needed to do to prevent anymore incidents. The farmer has now sold the herd and has replaced them with British cattle.


Inquest Day 2: Cattle may have been 'conditioned' to attack

It's the second day of the inquest into the death of Alastair Porter. The 66 year-old, known as Mike, was killed when he and his brother were walking dogs in Turleigh near Bradford-on-Avon two years ago.

An independent cattle expert told the inquest the animals in Elbow Field were an 'unpredictable' breed.

Andrew Marshall said they were continental breeds, mostly Limousin and Simmintals. And they were bred for beef production, so had little contact with people - as opposed to dairy cattle who have daily contact.

He said the continental breeds in Elbow Field were more unpredictable, excitable and less calm than British breeds.

Farmers know that and build that into their systems any potential unpredictable behaviour.

– Andrew Marshall, cattle expert

Live: Updates from the inquest

Our Wiltshire reporter Robert Murphy is tweeting live from the inquest.

Inquest asks how man was trampled to death by cows?

An inquest into the death of a man who died after being trampled by cows in Wiltshire begins today.

66 year-old Alastair Porter, known as Mike, was killed when he and his brother were walking dogs in Turleigh near Bradford-on-Avon two years ago.

Mike died from internal bleeding on May 13 2013. He was a retired Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at Edinburgh University.

Mike’s death has left his family devastated and two years on they are 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 and we hope the inquest will consider if more should be done to keep walkers safe so that lessons can be learnt to reduce the risk of more injuries in future.

– Keith Cundall, expert serious injury solicitor at Irwin Mitchell


Flood defences hold at Bradford on Avon

The rising waters of the Avon are held back by flood defences Credit: ITV News Westcountry

Flood defences at Bradford on Avon have so far held, preventing a repeat of the kind of flooding seen at Christmas in the Wiltshire town. But a flood warning remains in place for the area.

Defences hold back waters near the Swan Hotel Credit: ITV News Westcountry

This morning the Environment Agency said river levels were stable but could rise further in response to forecast rainfaill.

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