Mother who 'loved being outside' trampled to death by a herd of cows

Mother who ‘loved being outside’ is trampled to death by a herd of cows while walking her beloved cockapoo

  • Kathy McKellar, was found dead after being trampled by cows on a holiday walk
  • Read more: Mystery ‘puma’ spotted prowling in fields near castle in North Wales 

A ‘fiercely independent’ mother was found dead in a field after being trampled by a herd of cows while on holiday with her dog. 

Kathy McKellar, 74, had been staying in a holiday cottage near Grindleton in Lancashire last September with her beloved cockapoo Archie.

On the afternoon of September 25, 2022 the pair went out for a walk and made their way towards Pine Wood through a series of fields farmed by David Towler.

Ms McKellar was found dead the next morning in a field being grazed by 25 Limousin cows with calves and a bull.  

John Turner, the owner of the holiday cottage, had com across cockapoo Archie, who had made his way back to the cottage. 

Mr Turner was unable to find Ms McKellar and called 999 before going out to look for her.

Kathy McKellar had been staying in a holiday cottage near Grindleton in Lancashire with her beloved dog, Archie, who was found alone by holiday home owner John Turner

The mother was trampled to death by cows in a field near her holiday cottage in Lancashire. In 2021, five people died after being attacked by cows

The following morning Mr Towler was checking his cattle when he found Ms McKellar’s body in the field. 

She was lying down with her arm under a wire fence at the other end of the field from where a public footpath passes through it.

Ms McKellar was pronounced dead at the scene with detectives noting she had several injuries consistent with being trampled by cattle. 

A post mortem CT scan revealed she died from traumatic chest injuries including fractured vertebrae and ribs.

Speaking at an inquest held on February 6 at Accrington Town Hall, Ms McKellar’s son Andy described his mother as a ‘fiercely independent’ woman who loved tennis, walking and baking.

‘She would go on this sort of holiday regularly, she did everything for herself, and she brought up my brother and I pretty much on her own,’ Andy said. 

‘She loved being outside and walking the dog; it was their happy place. Mum grew up in Clitheroe, that’s where her family is from, but she moved to Macclesfield when she had me.

‘We lost my Nan two years ago from old age so mum liked to come back up here to feel more connected to her part of the world. Although she was 74 she was still working part-time.’

The inquest also heard from farmer Mr Towler who explained that he has beef cattle and sheep on his 200-acre farm which he runs with his son William. 

On the morning of Monday, September 26, he was checking the animals when he noticed a bag on the grass.

‘I went to where it was and that’s when I could see the deceased,’ Mr Towler said.

Ms McKellar’s son Andy described his mother as a ‘fiercely independent’ woman who loved tennis, walking and baking

Mr Towler said that he has not had any issues with any of his cows or bulls being aggressive and would sell any that showed any unusual behaviours or temperament.

 ‘They can be quite protective when they have calves but only in the first few weeks; these calves were around five months old,’ he added.

The farmer was asked if any of his cattle had ever showed signs of being scared of dogs. 

‘We have two sheepdogs and we have sheep grazing with the cows so they’re used to my dogs being around,’ he replied.

The inquest heard that there had been a previous incident when a female walker was injured after disturbing some sleeping cows in one of Mr Towler’s fields in 2018. 

In response the Health and Safety Executive advised Mr Towler to move the water and feed troughs and put up a warning sign.

HSE inspector Shellie Bee visited Scriddles Croft Farm a few weeks after Ms McKellar’s death and noted that the warning sign had fallen down. 

However, she concluded that as Ms McKellar had entered the field via a different gate, she would not have seen the sign even if it had been up.

The HSE investigation concluded that Mr Towler had followed all guidance issued to farmers regarding keeping members of the public safe from cattle. 

However, because the specific circumstances leading to Ms McKellar’s death were not known, Mr Towler was issued with a notice requiring him to fence off the public footpath in this particular field.

The inquest heard that there is an average of one death a year in the UK relating to a member of the public being trampled by cattle. 

During 2021 there were five fatalities but this was during Covid lockdown when more people were going out for walks. 

Andy voiced further concerns that farmers are only issued guidance by the HSE instead of strict regulations. 

‘People have died because they are just guidelines and that doesn’t feel good enough,’ he added.

‘Guidelines are guidelines; you don’t have to follow them and I just don’t want to see this happen to anyone else.’

Assistant Coroner Kate Bisset returned a narrative conclusion. 

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