December 7, 2016

RWK Goodman welcomes ruling in cow attack case

Lawyers from RWK Goodman have welcomed a decision this week to fine a farmer £30k for health and safety failures after his cows attacked and killed a retired professor as he walked across a field in Wiltshire.

RWK Goodman previously represented three other walkers who had been attacked and severely injured on separate occasions by the same herd of cows, owned by the same farmer.

Commenting on the prosecution, Richard Brooks, an animal law specialist at RWK Goodman, said: “The fact that we acted for people who had been injured prior to this fatal incident shows that these cows had a history of aggression and the farmer repeatedly failed to take any steps to safeguard walkers using public footpaths which traversed his land.

“We act for a lot of walkers injured by cows, which happens for a variety of reasons, but never where there has been such an obvious and repetitive concern.”

Richard added: “Most people who enjoy the countryside do not want sterile conditions and they recognise that accidents do happen. But we need farmers to deal with easily avoidable risks. After all, any attack from three-quarter ton animals is potentially fatal. It is a tragedy that safety was ignored after the first incident never mind the ones that followed.”

The farmer, Brian Goodwin, 83, was ordered to pay £30k after he pleaded guilty to health and safety failings at Swindon Crown Court. He was also given a suspended jail sentence due to his age.

The court case arose after retired Edinburgh University professor Mike Porter was trampled to death in May 2013 as he walked along a footpath in Elbow Field, Turleigh, with his brother who lives near Bath. The herd had attacked other walkers on at least four previous occasions.

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