Farmer fined after cows cause walker’s life-threatening injuries

A farmer has been prosecuted after a walker sustained life-threatening injuries when she was trampled by cows while walking on a public footpath.

Emma Smith, 40, from St Martin, near Helston was walking on the path at Well Field, Nance Farm, in the village on 18 June 2013 when she was trampled by the cows. She managed to get to a nearby property from where she was rushed to hospital.

Farmer Jonathan Bryant appeared before Truro Magistrates Court today (24 March) following an investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court heard Ms Smith suffered punctured lungs, broken ribs and spinal and facial fractures. She was also left with deep cuts, wrist fractures and extensive bruising to her face and body. She spent five weeks in critical care and nine weeks in hospital.

The HSE investigation found that the path was well used by local people but Mr Bryant had not assessed the risk to members of the public from putting cows with calves in the field.

 Mr Bryant, of Swome Farm, St Martin, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £8,885 in costs.

 HSE Inspector Georgina Speake, speaking after the hearing, said:

“Emma has been left with permanent injuries and was very fortunate not to have been killed in this totally avoidable incident. Cows with calves are naturally protective and can see people as a threat.

“Farmers must be aware of the risks to people who are entitled to use a public footpath. Farmers and landowners should consider how this risk can be reduced such as using fencing, signs, temporary bypasses or moving cows with calves away from fields with public rights of way.”

 Further information on cattle and public access can be found on the HSE website by downloading the information sheet Cattle and Public Access in England and Wales: Advice for Farmers from the HSE website at

 Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states:  “It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
  3. HSE news releases are available at

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