‘Beserk’ herd of cattle trample 87-year-old woman to death day after leaving man bleeding in similar attack

Harry Cockburn
Belted Galloway cattle. File photo: Getty

An 87-year-old woman walking her dog was killed by a herd of “beserk” cattle in West Sussex, a coroner has heard.

Hillary Adair was knocked to the ground and trampled by Belted Galloway cattle at Linchmere Common and repeatedly attacked by the animals as she tried to stand up, the inquest in Crawley heard.

She was airlifted to St George’s Hospital in south London, but never regained consciousness and died a week later.

The inquest heard the attack on Ms Adair came the day after a couple had also been attacked by the same herd of cattle and had reported it to the company which owned them.

Ms Adair’s daughter said her mother would never have gone onto the common if she was aware the cattle were “spooked”.

Bryony Dillamore witnessed the attack on Ms Adair when she was walking her dog on 7 January.

She said: “I didn’t see any signs to indicate that it was not safe to enter the common.

“I then noticed that the cattle surrounding what I then understood was an elderly person ... with blood all over her head and chest.”

Ms Dillamore said that every time Ms Adair moved, the cattle became more aggressive towards her.

She immediately called the ambulance service and others and eventually Mrs Adair was able to be rescued from the herd.

“I believe the cattle were completely out of control,” she added.

Rachel Thompson told the inquest how she and her husband Carl were set upon by the same cattle herd the day before.

“We were just walking and chatting and that is when we kind of got the sensation that some cows had come behind us and they were very, very close to us.

“We had heard one bellowing and my husband said 'Run!' and we did.

“One of them hit me in the right side of the ribs and knocked me flying. I was lying there terrified. I was waiting to be trampled, I was bracing myself for it.”

But her husband managed to beat the animals away with a stick while she scrambled to her feet.

Additional reporting by PA

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