Rampaging cow herd trampled man to death and paralysed wife on dog walk

A rampaging herd of cows left a man dead and his widow paralysed while they were out walking their daughter's dogs, an inquest heard.

Michael Holmes, 57, was pronounced dead at the scene in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in September 2020, having suffered 35 rib fractures and a laceration to the heart sack.

His wife Teresa was airlifted to hospital. She woke a week later and spent six months in hospital as she rehabilitated from her injuries, which included spinal fractures, spinal cord injuries and fractured ribs.

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Medics in the air ambulance could do nothing to save Michael.

The inquest, held at Wakefield Civil and Family Justice Centre, heard a pathologist ruled the injuries to Michael's chest were not survivable.

Teresa took medical retirement due to her injuries, which have left her permanently in a wheelchair.

She told the court she did not remember the incident, a fact she was thankful for, and that they had taken the route through a nearby field "scores of times" before.

The couple assumed it was safe as there were signs urging dog walkers to keep their animals on a lead, but they were attacked by cattle in the middle of the field.

CCTV footage captured the moment the cows "accelerated" towards the couple.

The dogs ran off and escaped the stampede. They were later found with their collars still on by a neighbour, who raised the alarm.

Speaking of her husband, Teresa said: "He was a family man, he loved his family. His family meant everything to him.

"He had a very dry sense of humour and I do miss that. He had his own unique wit."

The inquest heard the Health and Safety Executive had dealt with nine cow stampede deaths in five years, but that 2020 saw a "small spike".

Michael's death was the third such incident in a month.

The inquest continues.

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