Belfast Telegraph

Cattle may have trampled man to death at National Trust visitor attraction Castle Ward

By Amanda Poole

A man is thought to have been trampled to death by cattle while out walking his dog at a National Trust property in Co Down.

The man died at Castle Ward in Strangford on Tuesday, August 30.

He was Thomas Alan McNeill (65), who was known as Alan.

The retired architect may also have suffered a heart attack during the incident.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service had received reports that afternoon to say a man was unconscious and possibly dead at Castle Ward.

When crews arrived the man had already passed away.

In June this year new walking and cycle routes were introduced at Castle Ward and it is believed some of the land is rented out by local farmers.

Last night a spokeswoman for Castle Ward said the estate remains open to the public and that a National Trust investigation is under way.

She said: “The National Trust can confirm that a death occurred at Castle Ward near Strangford on Tuesday August 30, 2011. The National Trust is fully investigating the incident.

“We extend our sincere sympathies to the bereaved family and our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.”

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) confirmed that it was also investigating.

She explained the inspector conducting the probe was not making any public comment at this stage in proceedings.

The PSNI also refused to comment, saying the HSENI was assuming the lead role in the investigation into the death.

Cattle can be dangerous to walkers, especially when cows are suckling calves.People walking dogs can be more at risk as cows see them as a danger and will attack to protect their young.

Ulster Farmers’ Union president John Thompson said: “This is a very tragic incident and I understand that the HSENI have begun an investigation.

“We await the outcome of this investigation but if it transpires that livestock were involved, unfortunately it is a reminder that livestock can be dangerous and the general public should always be mindful of this when in the countryside.”

A 61-year-old woman died last week after being knocked down by cows in a field near Cardiff. Another woman was killed by cattle in Yorkshire in 2009, also while walking dogs.

Background

Castle Ward is an 18th century house with two distinctly different styles — Classical and Gothic. The beautiful 820-acre walled demesne includes walking trails, gardens, stunning vistas and a picturesque farmyard. A children's pastimes centre and laundry room are near the stableyard, alongside a gift shop, secondhand bookshop and tearoom. There are also several walks for visitors.

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