A farmer who was repeatedly warned to control his cows has been spared jail after a retired university professor was trampled to death in his field.
Mike Porter, 66, from Edinburgh, was killed in the cattle attack on a public footpath through Elbow Field in Turleigh, Wiltshire, in May 2013. Around 30 beef cows began repeatedly trampling him while he curled up in a ball to protect himself.
After previous incidents in which people were injured by cattle on his farm, health officials had told Godwin to put in segregating fencing or signs saying ‘cows with calves’ to let people know the protective animals were dangerous, a court heard.
The judge at Swindon Crown Court suspended the farmer’s sentence for two years because of his age. Godwin was also ordered to pay £30,000 costs.
Tim Mousley QC, sitting at Swindon crown court, said: “You could have prevented his untimely death. I’m satisfied that you quite blatantly failed to ensure the safety of people who came on your land.”
The judge told Godwin: “I’m quite satisfied that the way you managed your livestock created an obvious risk to people on public footpaths and a risk of serious injury. That was a risk that you failed to take reasonable steps to rectify and led to the terrible death of one man and serious injuries to another.
“There was an incident in 2004, two incidents in 2008 after which the health and safety executive required you to make some changes. Two further incidents in 2011 after which the health and safety executive required you to make further changes.