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HomeUKLandowner fined £15,000 after his cows launched 'frenzied attack' on dog walkers

Landowner fined £15,000 after his cows launched ‘frenzied attack’ on dog walkers


A landowner has been fined £15,000 after cows on his estate attacked dog walkers in a “frenzied and intense attack”.

Sir Charles Hobhouse, 60, admitted there were two health and safety deficiencies on his land in Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire.

A court heard dog walkers were trampled twice in 2021 by the same herd of 17 cattle and 18 calves.

In the first incident, a woman suffered a broken shoulder and suspected broken ribs, it was said.

Two months later, the cattle cornered another dog walker who was left with broken vertebrae.

Hobhouse, a baron and former high sheriff who attended Eton, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, according to a LinkedIn page.

He was ordered to pay a £15,000 fine and £8,000 costs at Bristol Crown Court.

The hearing was told he had taken insufficient steps to prevent cattle from attacking members of the public crossing his land on public footpaths.

Cows chased three dog walkers in June 2021

The court heard that on June 5, 2021, Michael Booley, Joanne Booley and Josian Gauld walked three dogs through a field on the estate on a public path not fully bounded by electric fencing.

The herd then gave chase and trampled Mrs. Booley after throwing her into the air before being rucksacked by Mrs. Gauld.

In a statement, Booley said the “frantic and intense attack” had exacerbated his post-traumatic stress disorder from service in the British Army.

Mrs. Booley suffered a broken right shoulder, suspected broken ribs, severe contusions and injuries to her right hand and wrist.

Prosecutor Alastair Haggarty told the court that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited Hobhouse’s estate in the aftermath and advised him to keep the herd in fields with fully fenced footpaths or no footpaths at all.

Herd described as aggressive

He was told, “You must treat the herd involved in the incident as aggressive and take all reasonable precautions.”

But on August 19, 2021, another dog walker was seriously injured by the same herd while walking an unfenced public footpath in another field.

The court heard that James Johnson, a builder, was walking his dog down a path at 6am when he was chased by the herd, knocked down and trampled.

Surrounded by cattle, Mr. Johnson managed to crawl to a tree and climb the lowest branch, but he fell to the ground and was trampled again by a herd that had completely surrounded him by now.

In a statement quoted in court, he said, “I really felt like I was going to be killed at this point”.

But Mr. Johnson managed to get to his feet, hit a cow and escape through a gap in the herd, climb out of the field over a stile and fall to the ground on a road, where a passing member of the public called an ambulance. called.

Mr Haggarty said he suffered a concussion, a cut to his head, two dislocated shoulders, three broken ribs and three broken vertebrae in the incident and nightmares and amnesia in the aftermath.

The prosecution added that Hobhouse was “clearly aware of the risks” of that herd in a field with unfenced paths.

Malcolm Galloway, defending himself, told the court that his client “takes responsibility for what happens in the estate” but had not made the decision to move them to the field where the second incident took place.

Landowner offers ‘sincere apologies’

He said: “Obviously he has repented. He took what happened personally.

“That’s why I start with a sincere apology to those people who did nothing wrong but roam the countryside.”

Mr Galloway said the herd had been inspected daily by the farm foreman, Andrew Tucker, between the first and second incident.

Mr Tucker noted “no indication of any aggressiveness in the herd beyond anything” and he alone then made the decision to move them to the field where the second incident occurred, the court heard.

“The court should look at the actions and knowledge of Sir Charles and not the partnership and its employees as a whole,” said Mr Galloway.

“He wouldn’t have done it if he’d known about it.”

In his comments on the sentencing, Mr Saini acknowledged that Hobhouse was unaware that the herd had been moved to the field where the second incident took place.

But he ruled that the defendant had disregarded the law in both incidents and had failed to follow the advice given to him by the HSE in the second.

The judge said: “As a person with overall responsibility, the law requires you to properly assess the risk of cattle and calves walking near public footpaths.

“You accept through your admissions that you have not taken protective and preventive measures to mitigate the risk.”

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