BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 25 June, 2001, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Zoo firm fined over keeper death
Indian elephant
An Indian elephant similar to La Petite
A company has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling 43,500 after an elephant keeper was crushed to death.

Darren Cockrill, 27, suffered head injuries when a cow elephant weighing nearly three tonnes attacked him at Port Lympne Zoo near Hythe, Kent, in February last year.

Port Lympne Estates Ltd - which runs the parks of millionaire John Aspinall, who died last year - pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching health and safety rules.

The prosecution was brought by the local authority, Shepway District Council.

Folkestone magistrates, in Kent, heard that Mr Cockrill, an experienced keeper was with another keeper in the elephant enclosure on 7 February 2000, but was left alone when his colleague went to lunch.

Previous incident

It is not known why Mr Cockrill went in to see the elephant, La Petite, who had previously crushed a keeper's legs in Austria.

The court heard he may have been dragged by the elephant.

Mr Cockrill was found by another keeper and La Petite's trunk was smeared with blood.

After his death the park's directors said the elephant would not be put down.

An inquiry heard that five elephants were found huddling around the keeper's body, as if to protect him.

Mr Cockrill was the fifth keeper to be killed in 20 years at one of the zoos owned by the late Mr Aspinall.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

08 Feb 00 | UK
Killer elephant spared
07 Feb 00 | UK
Elephant crushes keeper
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories