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  1. ITV Report

Cow warning after 87 year old killed by 'beserk' cattle in Sussex

The death of an 87-year-old woman from Sussex killed by a herd of "beserk" cattle must lead to greater awareness of the dangers cows can pose, a coroner has said.

Hilary Adair was knocked to the ground by Belted Galloway cattle at a countryside beauty spot and repeatedly attacked as she tried to get up.

The coroner said Hilary Adair 'didn't stand a chance' Credit: PA

She was airlifted to hospital from Linchmere Common but never regained consciousness and died a week later.

An inquest into her death took place in Crawley on Friday.

Her daughter Susan Berrisford said that had her mother known the cows had been "spooked" the day before, she would not have gone on to the common.

The fatal cattle assault came just a day after a couple and their dogs were chased and injured by the same animals, leaving the husband "covered in blood".

But the inquest was told that those responsible for the animals were not immediately conscious of the seriousness of the attack, viewing it as an "isolated incident", the inquest heard.

Library pictures of Belted Galloway cattle Credit: PA

Bryony Dillamore witnessed the attack on Mrs Adair when she was walking her dog on January 7.

She said: "I didn't see any signs to indicate that it was not safe to enter the common.

"I then noticed that the cattle surrounding what I then understood was an elderly person... with blood all over her head and chest."

Ms Dillamore said that every time Mrs Adair moved the cattle would become more aggressive towards her.

She immediately called the ambulance service and others and eventually Mrs Adair was able to be rescued from the herd.

Mrs Adair was airlifted to St George's Hospital in London but died from her injuries on January 14.

Rachel Thompson told the inquest how she and her husband Carl were set upon by the same cattle herd the day before.

"We had heard one bellowing and my husband said run and we did. "One of them hit me in the right side of the ribs and knocked me flying.

"I was lying there terrified.

"I was waiting to be trampled, I was bracing myself for it."

But her husband managed to beat them away with a stick and she managed to get back to her feet.

They contacted The Lynchmere Society, which owns the common, and were put in touch with Lynchmere Community Grazing CIC, the company which owns and looks after the cattle.

Edwin Brooks, one of the directors of the grazing company and who cares for the cattle said that they examined the livestock that night, but at that point were not aware of the seriousness of the attack on Mr and Mrs Thompson.

He told the inquest: "I thought this was an isolated incident."

Senior coroner Penelope Schofield returned a conclusion of accidental death.

She said: "We will never really know what prompted either the attack on Mr and Mrs Thompson or on Mrs Adair.

"Mrs Adair was particularly vulnerable. She really didn't stand a chance against a herd of agitated cows.

She said she hoped that Mrs Adair's death raises awareness of the dangers of cattle if they are antagonised and that people take care when they see cows.

She offered her sincere condolences to Mrs Adair's family.

After the inquest, the Lynchmere Society and Lynchmere Community Grazing CIC issued a joint statement.

"Everyone in the community was shocked and deeply saddened by these tragic events and the loss of a valued friend and local figure.

"The safety of the public and animal welfare are of paramount importance to us.

"Very serious discussion between our organisations and ongoing dialogue with the family and our membership within the community will be had going forward before any decision regarding future grazing activities on the commons are made."

– Lynchmere Society and Lynchmere Community Grazing CIC