6:03pm UK, Tuesday December 14, 2010
Kat Higgins, Sky News Online
A fireman has admitted causing the death of a farmer who was crushed by his herd of cows after they were startled by a fire engine's sirens.
Howard Lee was walking his dairy cows back to his milking parlour
Julian Lawford pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to a charge of causing the death of Harold Lee by careless driving.
Mr Lee, 75, was trampled to death by his cows as he walked around 100 of them along a country road near his home in Burtle, Somerset, in August 2009.
Lawford, 49, was due to stand trial accused of manslaughter by gross negligence but admitted the lesser charge, which was accepted by the prosecution.
Richard Smith QC, defending, said: "Such a plea reflects that he drove his fire engine forward with its lights flashing with the herd in front of him, which caused them to act as they did, causing the death.
"This plea would be acceptable to the Crown Prosecution Service."
Mr Lee was walking his animals back to his milking parlour from a nearby field when the incident happened.
He sustained serious head and chest injuries and was airlifted to the Royal United Hospital in Bath, before being transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, where he died six days later.
Sentencing was adjourned until December 20 for the preparation of pre-sentence reports and Lawford was released on conditional bail.
How very sad. What were the firemen thinking having their sirens blaring down a country lane, and seeing a herd of cows in front of them Surely anyone with any common sense would know it would really scare them