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Farmer Nigel Murray killed by bull 'treated his cattle like family and told them all his woes'

By Linda Stewart

Published 26/04/2016

Nigel Murphy was found in the yard of his farm after being gored by bull
Nigel Murphy was found in the yard of his farm after being gored by bull
Marian Clode died in a similar attack

A farmer gored to death by his own bull has been described as a happy-go-lucky man who treated his cows like family.

Nigel Murray (54) was found in the yard of his Aughnacloy farm on Saturday after being attacked by the bull, which had been brought in from a field.

Police who attended the scene shot the bull after consultation with a vet and members of Mr Murray's family.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) is now investigating the death and the office of the Police Ombudsman has also been notified.

An HSENI spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with the family involved at this difficult time."

Mr Murray was a single man who ran the farm with his brother Wilfred. He was described by his cousin Alison McMullan as a cheerful, happy-go-lucky man with an outgoing personality.

"Farming was his life," she said. "He enjoyed being in the outdoors, out with nature. He enjoyed his work so much, it wasn't a job to him. Nobody knows for sure what happened. He was bringing the cows in and the bull was with the cows, and we can only guess what happened.

Neighbours rallied on Saturday to carry out tasks on the farm such as milking the cows of which Mr Murray was so proud.

"He was very willing to help out any neighbours who were in trouble or need and that was reciprocated over the last few days by the amount of support and help we have had from the community," Ms McMullan said.

"We would like to thank the people of the local community for all their support. As a family we really appreciate it."

Reverend Ian McKee of Aughnacloy Presbyterian Church said Mr Murray lived for his farm and was very proud of his Ayrshire herd. "He spent his time with his Ayrshire cows," he said. "He told me he's named them all. He talked to them - they were his family. He would have gone out and told them all his woes.

"On Saturday night when he died, the gate was just crowded with local farmers waiting to come in and help.

"The cows hadn't been milked when he was killed and they were waiting for HSE to arrive and the police wouldn't let anybody in. When they did, the local people mucked in and helped."

Mr Murray was a committee member at Aughnacloy Presbyterian Church and a member of Ballygawley RBP and Lisgenny Flute Band.

"Everybody is devastated, Rev McKee said. "People talked about him being a good neighbour and friend. There could be as many folk from the Roman Catholic community as the Protestant community at the funeral."

PSNI Inspector Keith Jamieson said: "A man has died following an incident involving a bull in a field in the Aughnacloy area on Saturday, April 23.

"Police attended and after consultation with the vet and members of the family, police shot the bull as it posed a risk. The office of the Police Ombudsman has been informed of the incident."

A spokesman for the Ulster Farmers' Union said: "The UFU regrets all farm deaths and know the impact they have on farm families. Regardless of circumstances, they are a reminder of the risks the industry has committed itself to tackle. Animals are one of the four key risks identified by the Farm Safety Partnership. This underlines why they rank with slurry, falls and machinery as a risk."

Councillor Robert Mulligan described the death as most unfortunate and said his sympathy was with Mr Murray's family.

Mr Murray's funeral will take place at Aughnacloy Presbyterian Church at 2pm today.

Last week it emerged that a woman originally from Londonderry died in England after being attacked by a cow while out on a walk with her family. Marian Clode (61) was on a holiday with her family in Belford, Northumberland on April 3 when she was charged at by a herd of cattle, which included several calves.

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