Belfast Telegraph

Farmer, 74, crushed to death by cow

An elderly arthritic farmer was crushed by a cow after he stumbled while moving animals, an inquest has heard.

John Beattie, 74, landed on the ground as he herded female cattle on his farm in Kildowney Hill, Glarryford, Co Antrim, in January this year. His son William saw an animal on top of his chest.

"I turned around and saw my father on the ground and the cattle was standing on his chest with its rear leg," he told the Belfast inquest. He was taken to Antrim Area Hospital but died three days later after sustaining rib fractures and a torn diaphragm under the massive beast.

Mr Beattie added: "I said to him 'how bad are you? He said 'I am brave and bad'."

The animals were being put on a lorry for transport to a meat plant in Coleraine, Co Londonderry. The ground was slippery and a health and safety expert concluded that the lifelong farmer may have lost his footing.

Health and Safety Executive inspector John Spiers said: "John Beattie may have stumbled when he entered the pen and then was trampled by one of the animals."

Coroner John Leckey said it was a slippery environment and observed that the older farmer figured high in the casualty statistics. "It is something to do, farmers tend not to retire in the true sense of the word," he said.

The victim died in Antrim Hospital following an operation known as intestinal ischaemia. He had an enlarged heart and was at risk of dying from heart disease, although it was impossible to say whether that contributed to his death, a pathology report suggested.

Mr Leckey said the system of moving the cattle was normal and there were enough people to do the procedure safely. His finding was that he died from a chest injury due to being crushed by a heifer (cow) with other heart conditions significant factors in why he died.

He said: "He died from a chest injury when he was trampled on by a heifer while helping his son to load cattle on to a lorry."

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