Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Tragedy of farmer gored to death by bull

The son of a farmer who was gored to death by a bull has described the moment he discovered his father's lifeless body lying in a field near the family home.

Sixty-year-old John Tallon suffered horrific injuries when he was attacked by the Charolais bull on his farm near Lurgan.

He had been refilling a livestock feeder in the field off Bartons Bay Road when the agitated animal set upon him in June.

His son Eamon told an inquest hearing in Armagh courthouse yesterday that he had gone looking for his father when he failed to return to his home on Derrymore Road, Gawley's Gate.

After checking land all over the farm he finally found his father's body lying close to the feeder in the field in which the two-year-old bull was kept along with 17 cows and calves.

“I saw my father lying there motionless. He appeared to have bad injuries to his face, his legs and his chest,” he said.

Mr Tallon told coroner Brian Sherrard that he had frantically attempted to revive his father using CPR but he was already dead.

The lifelong farmer had sustained fractures to all of his ribs, his spine and pelvis and sustained trauma to many of his major organs. The inquest was told he had grass marks on his legs consistent with being dragged across the ground.

Mr Sherrard asked Mr Tallon whether his father had expressed concerns about the bull.

“No more than any other bull. When you're working with a bull you just have to be careful,” he said.

The farmer's wife Geraldine Tallon said she had become worried when her husband of 35 years had not come back after going to see the livestock.

The incident was subsequently passed to the Health and Safety Executive to investigate. HSE official Camilla Mackey said the bull still appeared agitated in the wake of the attack.

She said the carcass of a cow was lying nearby and the death of this animal — combined with the hot and humid weather and the fact all the other cows had already been inseminated — may have contributed to the bull's volatile temperament.

The bull was shot dead by police marksmen later that evening.

Ms Mackey said HSE advice to farmers working with potentially dangerous animals was to work in pairs, use a dog and bring a vehicle into the field.

“The vehicle can act as a refuge if a problem occurs,” she explained.

Mr Sherrard said it was clear the farmer, who was otherwise in good health, would have died rapidly.

“I hope that's some form of comfort for the family circle,” he said.

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