Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Farmer trampled to death by cows in West Calder

Tommy MacFarlane Image copyright Google and Vic Rodrick
Image caption Tommy MacFarlane died in hospital seven weeks after the accident at the farm

A farmer was trampled to death by a herd of his own cattle in West Lothian in a "one-off" incident, a fatal accident inquiry has heard.

Tommy MacFarlane, 69, was unable to get out of the way of a cow which had leapt at a 5ft (1.5m) high gate being used as a pen, pushing it over.

Seven more cows ran over the farmer as he lay on the ground at Cuthill Farm near West Calder on 20 June 2016.

Judge Sheriff Douglas Kinloch will publish his findings at a later date.

The farmer died in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on 8 August 2016.

'Wrong place'

The court heard medical evidence that Mr MacFarlane had also suffered a stroke, and had lung disease and pre-existing heart problems which could have contributed to his death.

Giving evidence to the inquiry at Livingston Sheriff Court, eyewitness Andrea Taylor, 28, described the tragedy as a "one-off" accident.

Miss Taylor, whose family run an arable farm close by said she had never seen a cow leap so high either before or since the accident.

She said she had seen cows rear up and jump over a fence where the wires could give way under their weight, but never over a high metal structure.

"I wouldn't say it was an accident waiting to happen. It was just one of those 'one-off' things," she told the inquiry.

"It was just where he was standing. You could say it was the wrong place at the wrong time.

"They all escaped and they ran right over him."

Since the accident, she said, the practice of leaning the pen gates against "four by four foot" straw bales had been changed and the cattle hurdles were now tied to a tractor for support.

Also, no-one was allowed to stand close to the temporary fencing so there was no possibility of anyone else being trapped in similar circumstances.

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