The bull that trampled a walker to death had attacked electricity workers just weeks before and “should have been culled”, a court heard.
Farmer Paul Waterfall, of Underhill Farm, near Stanford-on-Soar, owned the Brown Swiss bull and is facing a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.
Walker Roger Freeman, 63, died while walking with his wife Glenis, who spent three weeks in hospital following the attack on November 12, 2010.
And in an emotional statement read at Nottingham Crown Court on the first day of Waterfall’s trial yesterday, the jury heard that a dying Mr Freeman said to his 70-year-old wife: “I’m sorry my baby, I can’t get us out of this,” after the bull struck.
Andrew McGee, prosecuting, said that Waterfall was aware of the risks the bull, named Moonriver Zac Pi, posed and failed in his duty of care to protect people who used the public footpath across his land.
He said: “Roger Freeman was killed in entirely foreseeable circumstances. The death was made all the more tragic because it was completely avoidable.”
The pair of experienced walkers were on a holiday and had spent the night in Nottingham before heading towards Loughborough.
The jury was told the couple had walked around 12 miles before crossing the footpath at Waterfall’s farm – where Mrs Freeman saw cows and a bull in the field.
“The next thing Glenis heard was an ‘oof’ from Roger and she turned around and she saw Roger on the ground with the bull there,” Mr McGee said.
She ran from the field and flagged down motorists, who dialled 999.
Police and paramedics found Mr Freeman, a father-of-two, face down in the field with only boxer shorts and boots on, with the rest of his clothes scattered at the scene, the court heard.
He was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre and a pathologist said he had died from multiple injuries and had fractures to his ribs, shoulders and vertabrae.
Mr McGee told the jury of four women and eight men that the bull, known as Zac, was involved in attacks with humans twice in the six weeks running up to the fatal incident.
Two contractors from Central Networks attempted to deal with an electrical problem on the farm on October 1, but were chased off the land by Zac.
Three weeks later, another engineer was working on the farmland when he noticed the bull “pawing the ground and bellowing”.
The prosecutor told the court that experts would consider Brown Swiss bulls like Zac a dairy breed which are “noted for their propensity for aggressive behaviour”.
He added the bull had shown “dangerous, unprovoked behaviour towards people” leading up to the attack.
He said that “Zac should have been culled” as soon as he began showing such signs of aggression towards people.
The court heard Mr Waterfall had farmed at Underhill Farm for ten years and kept around 500 cattle of various breeds on the 300 acres. He bought Zac in 2009 to breed with his heifers.
The bull was destroyed immediately after the fatal attack.
Mr Waterfall denies the charge and the trial at Nottingham Crown Court is expected to last four weeks.
Source: Nottingham Post