Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:55 UK

Farmer trampled by 'spooked' cows

A farmer was trampled by his herd of cows after they stampeded when a fire engine siren apparently "spooked" them.

Harold Lee, 75, was moving 100 cows from Robins Farm in Burtle, Somerset, with his son Richard when a fire engine answering a 999 call approached them.

Mr Lee is in a critical condition in hospital with chest and head injuries.

A spokeswoman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said a fire engine was involved in the incident but refused to comment further.

'All devastated'

Richard Lee, 42, said he was leading the herd along the B-road to the milking parlour on Tuesday when the cows became spooked and stampeded back towards their field.

His father was airlifted to the Royal United Hospital in Bath before being transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where he was said to be in a critical but stable condition.

Richard Lee said: "It's not far along the road from the field to the farm and father has made that trip every day for 50 years with no problems.

"We understand they were trying to get to an accident but there was no need for them to have their sirens going. We are all devastated."

An Avon and Somerset police spokesman said the incident was being investigated and the possibility the cows were spooked by a fire engine was one line of inquiry.

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