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Farmer whose cows killed a walker is spared jail

A farmer who was repeatedly warned to control his cows has been spared jail after a retired university professor was trampled to death in his field.

Brian Godwin, 83, had been previously ordered to offer more protection to dog walkers using the public footpaths that cross his 400-acre farm.

Professor Mike Porter was trampled to death by cows Credit: Family

The farmer had been told to put in segregating fencing or signs saying ''cows with calves' to let people know the protective animals are dangerous.

But he failed to act and dad-of-two Mike Porter, 66, from Edinburgh, was stamped on and trampled by a herd as he walked across the land.

The rambler was walking along a public footpath through Elbow Field with his brother John and their two dogs.

Around 30 continental beef cows began repeatedly trampling on Michael who curled up in a ball to protect himself.

There had been five other serious attacks on the farm Credit: ITV West Country

Professor Porter was airlifted but died from internal bleeding following the attack in May 2013 near Godwin's Timothy Rise Farm in Turleigh, near Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire. His shaken brother sustained series injuries and Godwin, 83, has now been handed a 12-month prison sentence - suspended for two years.

He admitted breaching his general duty of controlling his livestock at a previous hearing and was today sentenced at Swindon Crown Court.

The court heard there had been five other serious attacks dating back to 2004 on the farm - but Goodwin failed to put up any warning signs,

You could have prevented his untimely death.

I'm satisfied that you quite blatantly failed to ensure the safety of people who came on your land.

I am quite satisfied that the way you managed your livestock created an obvious risk to people on public footpaths and a risk of serious injury.

That was a risk that you failed to take reasonable steps to rectify and led to the terrible death of one man and serious injuries to another.

– Tim Mousley QC, Judge

Together with our family and friends, I have spent the last three and a half years trying to turn the tragedy of Mike’s death into a positive outcome.

Mike’s death was avoidable, and while nothing will bring Mike back to us, we can at least take some comfort that lessons have been learned which will prevent others in the future being needlessly killed or injured.

It is vital that the interests of farmers cannot take precedence over the health and safety of the public, and that those who, like Mike, love walking in the beautiful British countryside can do so without the risk of injury or death.

We hope that those agencies with responsibility will now review the guidance relating to the management of livestock in the vicinity of public rights of way

– Adrienne, Mike's partner

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