Belfast Telegraph

Sister in tribute to Co Fermanagh farmer (71) trampled to death by his cattle

By Claire Williamson

The sister of an elderly man who died after he was attacked by cattle on his farm has paid tribute to the "hard-working man".

Robert Brown (71) was found at his farm in Co Fermanagh at Knockmanoul, close to Ballinamallard, on Sunday.

It is understood Mr Brown was getting the animals ready for a TB test when the incident happened on Saturday evening. He lived alone and worked the farm by himself.

It was on Sunday morning that the alarm was raised by his sister Margaret. She brought Mr Brown meals each day, but as she came to deliver breakfast she said she knew something was wrong.

"It was a bit of a shock when I went down to bring his breakfast down and the light was on.

"I rang a neighbour and he came down and found him in there, among the cattle lying," she told the BBC.

Ms Brown said she was in a "complete state of shock".

She added: "He was hard-working, worked all hours of the night, he loved his animals.

"He ran the farm on his own.If he needed help the neighbours were always very good at helping out."

In paying tribute to him, Ms Brown said: "He was a hard-working man, working all the time. He used to take a few days here and there, especially in the winter time, but kept busy feeding his animals. I'm in a complete state of shock."

Mr Brown was heavily involved in the local Methodist church and his neighbour of many years, Bertie Kerr, said he was a very "decent neighbour".

He said: "He was a very intelligent man for a start. In fact he probably could have preached a sermon in the Methodist church as well as some of the ministers."

Fermanagh and South Tyrone Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott knew him well. He said: "Just like the wider community, I was deeply saddened and shocked when I learnt of the passing of Robbie Brown. Robbie was a character who everyone liked and had no enemies.

"At this stage we don't know for sure the circumstances, but of course farms hold many dangers.

"Farming can be an isolated business, and every precaution must be taken when carrying out any duties."

The Health and Safety Executive has confirmed it is investigating the death.

"HSENI is investigating the death of a farmer in Co Fermanagh. Our thoughts are with his family at this most difficult time," a spokesman said.

Background

Farms have claimed the lives of many across Northern Ireland in a series of tragedies in recent years, highlighting the ever-present dangers. In April 2013, 71-year-old George Benson Foster was killed when he was attacked by a bull. He was helping bring cattle in for milking and the bull was in the herd when it attacked him. The incident happened on a farm near Killea, Co Londonderry.

Most recently, the tragic incidents which have claimed the lives of young people have involved slurry tanks and machinery.

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