Livestock mart to pay out £80k after man killed by escaped cow

Auctioneers at Whitland Livestock Market have been fined after a man, 75, was killed by a cow
Auctioneers at Whitland Livestock Market have been fined after a man, 75, was killed by a cow

A Welsh livestock market has been ordered to pay out £80,000 after a man was trampled to death by a cow that had escaped.

Huw Evans, 75, was knocked down and trampled by the cow, which was being auctioned at the livestock mart run by J.J. Morris Ltd, in November 2022.

The cow was being unloaded into a pen at Whitland Livestock Market but managed to escape before heading towards Whitland, Carmarthenshire.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found J.J. Morris, which has operated Whitland Livestock Market for over 30 years, failed to implement basic, physical control measures to prevent cattle from escaping.

Additionally, the company’s risk assessment was not suitable nor sufficient as it referenced control measures that were not present at the market.

Mr Evans, who lived in Whitland, had been crossing the junction at North Road and West Street when he was attacked by the cow.

He suffered multiples injuries and was flown to the University Hospital of Wales where he died six days later.

A worker at J.J. Morris was injured in an unsuccessful attempt to capture the cow, which later ran towards Whitland Rugby Club and a railway line before being captured and put down by Dyfed-Powys Police.

Responding to the sentencing, HSE inspector Rhys Hughes said this "tragic incident was foreseeable and preventable".

"The risk posed by cattle escaping from the livestock mart should have been identified, and effective control measures implemented," he said.

“The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance, which is readily accessible and outlines the requirements to safely manage cattle.”

Mr Evans’ son, Dafydd, said in his victim personal statement: “Dad was my best friend and I miss him terribly, he was taken from us too soon.

“Losing Dad has had a tremendous effect on both myself and my brother.

“Because of this incident Dad’s grandsons will never fully know him personally and he will not see them grow up.”

J.J. Morri, of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

It was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £5,047.55 in costs at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court.