Fireman admits causing farmer's death with siren

Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:06pm EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - A fireman has admitted causing the death of a farmer who was crushed to death by a herd of cows after they were startled by fire engine sirens.

Julian Lawford pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to a charge of causing the death of Harold Lee by careless driving, the Press Association reported on Tuesday.

Lee, 75, was trampled to death by his cows as he walked them along a country road near his home in Burtle, Somerset.

Lawford, 49, of Glastonbury, Somerset, was due to stand trial accused of manslaughter by gross negligence but admitted the lesser charge, which was accepted by the prosecution.

Richard Smith, defending, told the court: "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."

The incident happened on a minor road in August last year when the farmer was moving a herd of 100 dairy cows from a field toward their milking parlour.

He was airlifted to hospital with serious head and chest injuries and died six days later.

(Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Paul Casciato)