Dog walker trampled to death by cows took one fatal blow to chest, inquest hears

A man was trampled to the ground by a herd of cows before one ran at him as he lay injured and delivered a fatal blow.

David Clark, 59, was walking through a field in the Yorkshire Dales on September 21 last year when cows charged on him.

The father-of-three was initially flawed by a stampede before an enormous cow turned around and delivered a lethal knock to his chest, an inquest heard.

Mr Clark, a deputy headteacher, lost consciousness a short time later and was pronounced dead at the scene despite the best efforts of locals and paramedics.

At a jury inquest in Harrogate today, it was heard the field contained calves and cows that may have been attempting to protect their young at the time of the tragedy.

Witness Rachel Taylor told the court she was in her garden at around 6pm when she saw 59-year-old Mr Clark "bobbing" along the horizon, approaching a gate on the footpath through a field on Low Ginger Fields Farm in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Her attention was drawn moments later by the sound of cattle "bawling", which Ms Taylor said indicated they were "not happy".

When she looked again there were "up to 20 cows" in the area where Mr Clark had previously been and she could no longer see him as two pet dogs ran around the cattle, it was heard.

Ms Taylor and her husband rushed to the scene a short distance away and found Mr Clark sitting on a hill with his legs out in front of him.

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As they got closer to the man, they saw a single cow run "at him and it hit him straight in the chest."

Mr Clark remained conscious but was unable to move to safety and shook his head when asked if he could get up and enter their car. As Ms Taylor rang 999 Mr Clark made a groan and lay back.

She told the jury Mr Clark became unresponsive and that another local, Tim Rothwell, rushed to the scene to attempt CPR before an air ambulance landed.

Paramedics attempted to revive the man but they could not save him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Rothwell and Ms Taylor both told the court they were unaware of issues previously caused by the herd of cows in question.

Ms Taylor said: "People pass through there all the time and the cows just sit there."

Farmer David Turnbull whose family have farmed the land for more than 50 years told the jury, at the time of the incident, there was a sign on a gate Mr Clark passed through urging dog walkers to keep their animals on a lead.

He said: "The risk is that dogs are running freely. Cattle will protect their calves."

In a tribute to Mr Clark at the time of his death, headteacher Jenna Potter described him as the "heart and soul" of Richmond School, where he worked.

She said: "He was an enormous character, a brilliant school leader and simply a lovely man who enriched the life of everyone he came into contact with."

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