Generally, we think of cows as fairly harmless creatures. However, the people that work with them can tell you a number of horror stories in which they were kicked, chased, or harassed by livestock — even their own. Pinstraw Farm in East Sussex was the scene of one such incident, one that ended tragically. Farmer Stephen Sandys was found dead last Friday, lying in his own field.
Police were called to his property after they received a call from his partner, Christine. He was supposed to pick her up from the station, but never arrived. When she went looking for him, she was horrified at what she discovered. Stephen Sandys was found lying on the ground alongside his cows, with his 9-year-old bull snorting and stamping nearby.
Christine informed BBC News that the police destroyed the bull, who was acting strangely aggressive. The bull did not let her approach his body, so she called the police. Once law enforcement arrived on the scene, they were able to safely retrieve his body.
The 64-year-old farmer was pronounced dead on the scene, presumably “trampled to death by his own cattle.”
It is believed that he went out to feed the cows, and the bull grew increasingly angry towards him. This led the animal to attack him, trampling him to death in the process. While it is not unusual for accidents involving livestock to occur, it is strange that a farmer like Sandys was killed. He was caring for several Aberdeen Angus cows, which are bred to be quite docile.
It is unknown whether the bull had a record of aggression. It was 9-years-old and had been born and raised on the farm. While there have been cases of cattle harming their caretakers, it is unusual for livestock to be so outwardly aggressive towards their handlers.
This is a terrible tragedy, especially for the people that knew Mr. Sandys. By all reports, he was a well-liked member of the community. He took over the farm after his father died, and had been caring for the animals since. According to his neighbor, Brett Walker, he was a friendly person with no enemies to speak of.
“He was a super guy, and never had a bad word to say about anybody,” Walker told BBC reporters.
Police are confident that there was no foul play involved in this case and have ruled his death as an accident. According to Independent, police personnel have left the scene and handed the investigation off to Her Majesty’s Coroner.