Cattle crush farmer

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A FARMER trampled to death by cattle as he tried to tag a calf had failed to safely segregate the animals, an inquest heard.

John Ward (66) was in a cattle shed with his stepdaughter Katie Allen, who worked with him on Geer Lane Farm in Ridgeway, when the tragedy occurred.

Ms Allen (21), who had regarded divorcee Mr Ward as her father, told an inquest jury at Chesterfield he was intending to insert identification tags into both ears of a new-born calf while she held the animal.

They were about to place the calf in a space between two gates when a bull suddenly came up behind Mr Ward and knocked him into the air.

“The two of them started nudging him with their heads,” said Ms Allen. “He tried to stand up but he fell back onto the floor and they were jumping up and down on him with all four hooves.”

She tried to kick the cattle away and fetched a stick to drive them back and placed a gate between Mr Ward and the cattle. Unable to lift him she rolled him out of harm’s way.

She called for an ambulance and also called her mother, aunt, and uncle, Roger Bradley, for help. He and paramedics tried to revive Mr Ward but they got no response and he was declared dead at the scene

Pathologist Dr Roger Start said Mr Ward had suffered a “concentrated pattern of crush injuries” to his chest, most probably caused by stamping by cattle.

He gave the cause of death as multiple injuries.

The incident, which took place on the afternoon of March 31 last year, was investigated by Health and Safety Executive inspector Dr Samantha Farrar.

She said Mr Ward ran a 100-acre farm with 50 cattle and 150 sheep and he was very experienced, having worked in farming all his life.

Dr Farrar said the breed of cows, Limousin, weighed an average of 650kgs and bulls around 1,000kgs and it was “essential” to use partitions, during certain work.

“Ear tagging can arouse the mother’s instincts, causing risk to the handler,” said Dr Farrar.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death on Mr Ward.

Ms Allen said a partition had been used on the farm since the accident.