Father and son died being gored by a water buffalo

Written by on June 18, 2021

A FORMER Somerset man and his son died after being gored by a water buffalo at their family farm, an inquest has heard.

Ralph Jump, 57, and his son Peter, 19, suffered fatal injuries when they were attacked alongside daughter Isabel, 22, who survived the incident at the nine-acre smallholding in Gwehelog, Monmouthshire.

The elder Mr Jump, managing director of a heating company, was born in Maldon, Essex, but had lived in Somerset before his family moved to the farm to utilise his background as a cattle farmer.

Gwent Coroner’s Court in Newport heard on Thursday that the family kept Mediterranean buffalo to sell soap using their milk, but that the four-year-old bull involved in the attack – named Yolo – had taken against Peter.

Mr Jump’s wife, Josephine, said the family had purchased two cows and a bull in 2016, and while during the first two years there were no problems, they had later noticed that the bull “didn’t like Peter” and would hold its head up and “watch him”.

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“The bull never behaved like this with me or (Ralph) and we would keep Peter away from him,” she said.

Mrs Jump was in the family kitchen just before 3pm on May 5 last year when she saw that a hay ring in the field outside had been pushed against an electric fence and asked her husband to move it.

She said in a statement that she was preparing food when Isabel came into the kitchen shouting that Yolo was “pushing dad down the field” and quickly rushed outside after getting hold of a stick.

“I could see him being rolled down the hill by the bull and I could hear he was groaning. I got between them but it kept trying to get back at him. He was groaning but looked unconscious,” she said.

Mrs Jump said her son, Peter, who was home from university due to the coronavirus pandemic, arrived on the muddy field holding an iron baton to “hit the bull away” from his father.

“All of a sudden, the bull started going for Peter, and got him,” she said.

The hearing was told the field’s terrain was “dry and hard and difficult to run on”.

The bull began to walk back to where Mr Jump lay prone on the floor, prompting Mrs Jump to try and protect him, but she said she realised “he’d gone”.

“I couldn’t hear him and I knew he’d passed,” she said.

Mrs Jump said the bull then began attacking her daughter, who was also stood in the field while ringing emergency services, and described her being “dragged around” by the animal before it lost interest and returned to attacking Peter.

Emergency services attended the scene and noted that Peter had “an obvious hole in his neck”.

Peter was taken by air ambulance to hospital with “critical” injuries, while his father was pronounced dead at the scene and was later found to have suffered multiple injuries to his chest, including smaller puncture wounds.

Peter, who had suffered rib fractures and lacerations, was operated on at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, but was unable to be properly ventilated as he had blood in his lungs and died later that day.

Isabel was discharged from hospital after suffering a serious injury to her leg.

Armed police who arrived at the scene shot the bull dead.

Sara Lumley, an inspector of health and safety with Health and Safety Executive, said evidence from the Jump family showed there were “previous signs of aggression from this bull”, but that even if it had not shown aggression before “there is no such thing as a safe bull”.

She referred to guidance for keeping cattle that handling them should not be undertaken without precautions put in place, and said Mr Jump should have both entered the field with another person as a lookout and also used “some sort of separation or refuge” like a tractor in case they were put in danger.

Coroner Caroline Saunders said she could not say whether Mr Jump intended to move the bull from near the hay ring or whether it attacked him unexpectedly while he was trying to move the hay ring from the fence.

Mr Jump’s medical cause of death was given as due to multiple injuries, trauma, and contributed to by ischemic heart disease.

The inquest jury returned a narrative conclusion for his death, saying his death was “contributed to by not having second person present in the field, and not having a refuge or place of safety in the field”.

Peter Jump’s medical cause of death was given as cardiac arrest, lung and abdominal injuries and polytrauma, while the jury concluded his death was as the result of misadventure.

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