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Horror as Derry teacher Marian Clode (61) killed by a cow which 'flipped her like rag doll' in front of grandchildren

By Donna Deeney

Published 20/04/2016

Marian Clode who was killed by a cow in England
Marian Clode who was killed by a cow in England

The daughter of a Londonderry teacher has described the horrific moment a cow catapulted her mother "like a rag doll" over a fence and left her with fatal injuries.

Marian Clode was killed by a cow that charged towards her and repeatedly headbutted her in front of her family, including two young grandchildren.

Marian Clode's family son-in-law Kevin, daughter Lucy and husband Chris
Marian Clode's family son-in-law Kevin, daughter Lucy and husband Chris

The 61-year-old suffered catastrophic injuries equivalent to those of a high-speed crash and two died two days later in hospital.

The family were enjoying an Easter holiday in Northumbria when the woman, who is originally from the Rosemount area of Derry, was attacked by the cow.

She was on a family outing with her husband Christopher (63), daughter Lucy Rowe (38), son-in-law Kevin Rowe (43) and grandchildren Charlotte (7) and Oliver (9) when the freak accident happened.

They had been walking along a public bridle path when she was charged at by a herd of cattle. Suddenly one of the herd became aggressive, approaching Mrs Clode and repeatedly began headbutting her.

An ambulance was called to the scene and both the family and paramedics attempted resuscitation before Mrs Clode was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, but died two days later.

Her daughter Lucy said that her mum was "flipped like a rag doll over the fence".

"The consultant said the injuries that my mum sustained were the worst they had ever seen, equivalent to those of a high-speed crash," she added.

"She did not stand a chance against that animal. My mum went blue when I looked, the cows were staring at me, her lips went blue. I was screaming her name."

Marian Clode with Grandchildren and Lucy Rowe.
Marian Clode with Grandchildren and Lucy Rowe.

SDLP councillor John Boyle said the woman still had family who lived in Derry, including her elderly mother.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I'm a councillor for the area that she originally came from and where her mother still lives.

"It's a dreadful tragedy to the woman and all who knew her.

Marian Clode.
Marian Clode.

"It has come as a tremendous shock to many.

"She was born and reared in the Rosemount area which is a very close knit community where near enough everybody knows everybody.

"It has come as a shock to many that she has died in such terrible circumstances.

"Thoughts of the community are with the wider family and I certainly share those thoughts and concerns."

The family have engaged Gordon Cartwright of JMW Solicitors to help guide them through the legal process to come, which will involve an inquest - a hearing likely to involve both Northumbria Police and the Health & Safety Executive.

Mr Cartwright said: "The family's main reason for sharing their story at this terribly distressing time is that they want to prevent other families going through such a traumatic experience.

"The family are also aware that there is likely to be an inquest in the coming months and have asked that we help guide them through that process.

"The strength and dignity they have shown in the face of this tragedy is very admirable and I am proud to support them at this difficult time."

While usually placid, cows can sometimes become aggressive during the breeding season or when they have young calves at foot.

Pet dogs can sometimes spark the protective instinct in female cattle, which will then attack in defence of their calves or herd.

It is best not to run from cattle as this can trigger a reaction.

They can sometimes simply be curious, and they can then chase people and with this you then run the risk of possibly being knocked down or trampled.

Belfast Telegraph

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