Cow kills woman and farmer pays £100,000 in compensation

Farmers can be liable for large damages if a cow harms or kills a rambler
Farmers can be liable for large damages if a cow harms or kills a rambler. Image: MikeB

Farmers should be aware that if one of their cows chases and kills a hiker or tracker walking across their property on a bona fide right of way they are exposed to a claim for compensation which might be as high as hundred thousand pounds or more.

The point here is that farmers need to take precautions to protect hikers and trekkers across the property on rights of way. In this instance, a farm business has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 in fines and costs after the farmer’s cow escaped and killed a teacher. She was on a family walk on an Easter break in Northumberland in 2016.

The teacher was Marian Clode, 61. She was repeatedly tossed over a gate by a cow which I will presume was defending her offspring which, as I recall, is the normal reason why a cow might attack someone in their purview.

The farm concerned is JM Nixon and Son running a farm in Belford. Farmers need to ensure the safety of persons by preventing them from being exposed to risks from the movement of cattle.

The case has been described by the judge as a “salutary lesson” for herdsman moving livestock even when that livestock is apparently very docile.

Alistair Nixon was moving his livestock; a herd of beef cattle from winter quarters to summer grazing. A group of about 15 cows and calves escaped to a public bridleway. He had checked the path was clear but since he last checked Marian Clode and her group had arrived at the path. She was not in a position to take evasive action and the cow attacked her repeatedly. Others jumped over fences to their safety.

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The lady was fit and active but she was taken to hospital with severe spinal injuries and passed away three days later.

The business will have to sell assets to pay the fine and costs. The judge gave the farm 12 months to pay. The family of the deceased believe that she lost her life because of a failure to “implement basic safety systems of work”. Her death was avoidable. Farmers take note.

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Post Category: Cows