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Hero pensioner saves man from cow attack in Keyhaven

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AN 82-year-old man was saved by a passer-by from an "out-of-control" cow which tried to crush him to death after ramming him off his bicycle near Lymington.

Rescuer Geoff Morton (67) used the elderly victim’s bike to fend off the one-ton beast which went on to attack another cow and pitch a second man head-first into some brambles.

The terrifying incident happened yesterday (Monday) on the footpath between Lymington and Keyhaven, attracting a crowd who tried to help.

The footpath where attack took place
The footpath where attack took place

The cow, which was accompanied by a calf, had escaped from a field and was eventually trapped in the grounds of a house by drivers who blocked it in with their cars.

It is understood the first victim was picked up by ambulance.

Geoff told the A&T: “It was as scary as hell. I honestly thought that the man was going to die – and possibly me too.

“The cow was black and must have weighed a ton at least. It was a big beast. I know it was only protecting its calf, but it was out of control.

“I was walking my dog when I first saw it and stopped. Behind me were two young women, one with a baby.

“We all stood really still and quiet. But unfortunately the man on the bike didn’t understand what was happening and rode near the cow.

Geoff Morton
Geoff Morton

“It started pawing the ground, like a bull does in a bullfight, then suddenly charged broadside at him.

"His bike went up in the air and came down on top of him.

“The cow then sat on him, before lying on him. I thought it was going to crush him to death.”

Geoff, from Pennington, took the man’s bike and used it as a shield to coax the cow away from the injured victim.

He said: “I could hear the cyclist groaning and he looked in a very bad way. He had very serious lacerations on his legs.

“There was a sort of stand-off between me and the cow before it turned and ran off towards Keyhaven with its calf.”

Further down the path, however, the animal attacked another cow before turning its attentions to a man on the side of the path, ramming him into brambles.

Geoff said: “He ended up head down in the hedge, and you could only see his legs.”

Eventually, the cow went into the grounds of a house overlooking Keyhaven marshes.

By now a crowd of up to 10 people had gathered. Some used their cars to block the animal in until emergency services had arrived.

Geoff said: “I’ve read about people being killed by cows, and now I’ve seen how aggressive they can be when protecting their young, I can understand how that happens.

“The cow had escaped from somewhere and seemed to be trapped on that path. It was defending its young and was panicking.

Cow had broken free from a field in the Keyhaven nature reserve
Cow had broken free from a field in the Keyhaven nature reserve

"I don’t blame the animal, it was just an unfortunate thing to happen.

“The whole experience really shook me up, I was shaking all day. It has put me off using that path and I think I will be very wary when I next come across a cow.”

He added: “I hope the man it hit is okay. It must have been so terrifying for him.”

Geoff believed rangers came out to deal with the cow while an ambulance took the elderly man away. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) also attended.

He said: "That was something I found difficult, I didn't know who to phone to get help with the cow."

An HIWFRS spokesperson for said: "An animal rescue advisor was called to Keyhaven Marshes at 11.15am on Monday following a report that a cow and calf had got loose from a field, injuring two people.

"The animals had been manoeuvred into a garden and the HIWFRS advisor helped the farmer herd them back to the field. Ambulance colleagues were also called."

Animal rescue advisor Jim Green warned: "At this time of year cows have calves and horses have foals, these animals have a strong maternal instinct to protect their young, so it is vital to keep your distance.

"When out walking in the countryside, in fields or areas that contain livestock try not to get too close and always keep your dog on a lead.

"If you feel threatened by an animal, remain calm and find a safe place."

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