Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 14:17 UK

Cows trampled dog walker to death

The field in which the incident is believed to have happened
Anita Hinchey died in a field in St Fagans, on the outskirts of Cardiff

A woman was trampled to death by cows after taking hold of her dog's collar when surrounded and falling backwards, an inquest has heard.

Anita Hinchey, 63, was walking with a friend through a field in Cardiff and "was not nervous" of the farm animals approaching them, the inquest was told.

The farmer who owns the field told the hearing that dogs should be taken off leads when walking through cattle.

Cardiff coroner Mary Hassell recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Ms Hinchey, from St George's-Super-Ely, near Cardiff, had been walking her boxer dog Woody with her friend Ruth Tugwell and her mongrel Poppy in the field alongside the A4232, near the entrance to the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans.

Ms Tugwell told the inquest she walked with Poppy on a lead up an incline away from the cattle because she was nervous of them.

But she said Ms Hinchey was an animal lover who would offer water to the cows by her home when the river ran dry.

She was not fearful of the cows and so walked closer, she said.

Cows are docile, generally speaking, put them with a dog and that's not always the case
Peter Davies, farmer

"I was slightly ahead when I saw the cows, they looked up and seemed curious and started to move towards us both," she said.

"They were coming in a semi-circular formation so I was heading towards the end so I could get away from them."

The next time she looked around Ms Hinchey appeared to be surrounded by the cows, she said.

"She was holding onto Woody's collar to pull him away when she appeared to trip backwards and fall," she said.

"I saw her head move - I assume that was when she was hit by a hoof.

"As she fell her eyes were closed and she fell into a foetal position. Anita didn't cry out or try to get away. Her face was peaceful and her eyes were closed.

"The cows had completely surrounded her by then. I tried to get to her and find an opening through the cows but I couldn't.

"A small black cow charged towards me so I went back to a gate and climbed over."

Ms Tugwell said she then ran to a nearby road to flag down a car for help.

Multiple injuries

Paramedic David John told the inquest that Ms Hinchey had already died by the time they attended.

A post-mortem examination found she died of multiple injuries and suffered broken ribs, bruises and lacerations.

Peter Davies, who owns the field, said the best way to deal with cows if they showed curiosity was to "shoo" them.

He also advised that when walking dogs through cattle, it was "vital" they were taken off their leads.

"Cows are docile, generally speaking. Put them with a dog and that's not always the case," he said.

"Cattle can behave in a different way if they feel the dog is a threat to them.

"It would be most unusual for a cow not to check you out in a fairly forceful fashion."

Recording her verdict, the coroner said: "The likelihood was the dog was off the lead and we've heard the dog should be off the lead when with cattle.

"Mrs Hinchey fell backwards and was trampled by the cows, suffering devastating injuries."



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