Livestock auctioneers fined after man, 75, killed by cow

A company has been fined after a 75-year-old man was killed by a cow that had escaped from a livestock market in Wales.

Father-of-two Huw Evans was knocked down and trampled by a cow that was being auctioned at a livestock market run by J.J. Morris Limited on 19 November 2022.

The cow was being unloaded into a pen at Whitland Livestock Market but managed to escape before heading towards Whitland, Carmarthenshire.

Mr Evans, who also lived in Whitland, had been crossing the junction at North Road and West Street when he was attacked by the cow. He suffered multiples injuries and was flown to the University Hospital of Wales where he died six days later on 25 November.

A worker at J.J. Morris Limited was injured in an unsuccessful attempt to capture the cow, which later ran towards Whitland Rugby Club and a railway line before being captured and put down by Dyfed-Powys Police.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found J.J. Morris Limited, which has operated Whitland Livestock Market for over 30 years, failed to implement basic, physical control measures to prevent cattle from escaping. Additionally, the company’s risk assessment was not suitable nor sufficient as it referenced control measures that were not present at the market.

Mr Evans’ son, Dafydd, said in his victim personal statement: “Dad was my best friend and I miss him terribly, he was taken from us too soon. Losing Dad has had a tremendous effect on both myself and my brother. Because of this incident Dad’s grandsons will never fully know him personally and he will not see them grow up.”

J.J. Morris Limited, of High Street, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £5,047.55 in costs at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on 20 June 2024.

HSE inspector Rhys Hughes said: “This tragic incident was foreseeable and preventable. The risk posed by cattle escaping from the livestock mart should have been identified, and effective control measures implemented. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance, which is readily accessible and outlines the requirements to safely manage cattle.”

This prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Rebecca Schwartz and supported by HSE paralegal officer Imogen Isaac.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More information about the legislation referred to in this case is available.
  3. Further details on the latest HSE news releases is available.