South Scotland

Castle Douglas worker 'most likely' killed by bull

Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court - Crown copyright image
Image caption The inquiry was held at Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court

An inquiry has concluded that a worker who died from crush injuries on a Castle Douglas farm was probably killed by a bull.

Graeme Riddick, 49, of New Abbey, was found dead at Cuil Farm last December after going out to feed cattle.

Sheriff Derek Livingston said he could "only speculate" why Mr Riddick had gone on foot into the field.

He said there were no defects to the system of working which led to the death.

The sheriff said the cause of death was a crush injury to Mr Riddick's chest and that it was most likely the bull that killed him.

He said the death could have been avoided if he had taken the "reasonable precaution" of using a tractor or other equipment to protect himself against the livestock.

'Simply speculation'

The inquiry, held at Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court, heard that a Friesian bull was in the field with 36 heifers when the farm worker went out to feed the animals.

The sheriff said: "In the circumstances I can only speculate as to why Mr Riddick went on foot into the field with the livestock.

"It was clear from the evidence that he had been told by the farm and that he would have been aware from his own farming experience of the dangers of going into the field on foot."

He described suggestions that he was looking for a missing hook from a tractor as "simply speculation".

He also concluded that the farm took the safety of its workers seriously.

"It was clear from the evidence that Cuil Farm is a well-run business that pays a high degree of attention to its health and safety obligations," he said.

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