Groombridge farmer crushed to death by his bull
by Andy Tong | 18th December 2018
A FARMER in Groombridge was trampled and crushed to death by a bull when he went to feed his cows, an inquest heard.
Steven Sandys was found lying in a field on his farm on August 10.
He was cut, bruised and most of his ribs were broken, East Sussex Coroner's Court heard yesterday [Tuesday].
Mr Sandys had taken over the running of Pinstraw Farm in the village from his parents and had reared the nine-year-old Aberdeen Angus from its birth.
The court heard that the experienced farmer ‘understood’ cattle and was safety-conscious around them.
The 64-year-old went the enclosure to feed the livestock, which also included eight cattle and their eight calves.
When he failed to turn up to collect his partner Christine Bartley from the train station she sensed something was wrong.
In a statement read at the hearing, Ms Bartley told how she took a taxi back to the farmhouse and found Mr Sandys lying on the ground with his T-shirt pulled over his head and most of his other clothes missing.
She said: "The bull was in the hedgerow and snorting. I instinctively knew it wasn't good and I had to leave. It was clear to me it wasn't safe to be in the field."
The animal was shot dead by an armed officer when police and paramedics arrived.
A post-mortem found Mr Sandys died as a result of massive crush trauma on his chest.
His clothes were later found and had been most likely thrown from him during the incident, the inquest heard.
Addressing Ms Bartley, who attended the hearing, coroner Alan Craze said: "If it is any comfort, all of this would have been pretty much immediate."
Ruling the death an accident but acknowledging how ‘dangerous’ it was to work with livestock, he said: "This is a very tragic case.
"Something like this is extremely rare but you are dealing with normally domesticated wild animals and everyone who does the job that Steven did knows there is a risk."