Father of former Northampton Saints star Calum Clark died after being trampled by cows

Inquest hears David Clark, 59. was floored by cattle protecting their young

Friday, 30th July 2021, 8:30 am

Former Northampton Saints rugby star Calum Clark's father died after being caught in a cow stampede, an inquest has heard.

Dad-of three David Clark, 59, was walking with his two pet dogs through a field in the Yorkshire Dales last September when he was floored by a stampede.

One of the cows turned around and ran straight into him, delivering a fatal blow which fractured all his ribs and caused severe haemorrhaging.

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Former Saints star Calum Clark's father died after being trampled by a herd of cows, an inquest heard

The deputy headteacher lost consciousness a short time later and was pronounced dead at the scene despite efforts to save him by locals and paramedics.

Mr Clark, born in Scotland, played three times in the second row for Scotland under-21 while his son Calum joined Northampton from Leeds in 2010, making 170 league appearances and winning one England cap.

The flanker left Franklin's Gardens for Saracens in 2017 and announced his retirement from rugby last week.

Witness Rachel Taylor told a jury inquest in Harrogate she was in her garden at around 6pm when she saw Mr Clark "bobbing" along the horizon, approaching a gate connecting two fields Moments later she heard cattle "bawling" which Ms Taylor said indicated they were "not happy".

Mr Clark was deputy headteacher at Richmond School in Yorkshire

When she looked again there were "up to 20 cows" in the area where Mr Clark had previously been and she could no longer see him. Two dogs which Ms Taylor had not initially seen were running around the cattle.

Ms Taylor and her husband rushed to the scene a short distance away and found Mr Clark sitting on a hill with his legs out in front of him. But, as they got closer, a single cow ran straight at him and landed a blow on his chest.

She told the court Mr Clark remained conscious but was unable to move to safety and shook his head when asked if he could get up and enter their car.

Ms Taylor added: "I was on the phone to 999 when I heard a groan and he lay back."

Calum Clark made 170 Premiership appearances for Saints and helped win the title at Twickenham in 2014

Another local who rushed to the scene attempted CPR before an air ambulance landed but paramedics could not revive the man.

The court heard the incident happened on a public footpath through a farm field in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

John Micklethwaite, from the Health and Safety Executive, told the jury the animals in question were part of a suckler herd, which means the cows were still feeding their young.

He told the court: "These incidents very often involve suckling herds and very often they involve dogs. There's some deep-seated reaction when they (suckling cows) see a dog, defence becomes attack and they may act aggressively."

The jury took just 30 minutes to decide Mr Clark died as the result of an accident.

Coronor John Broadbridge told Mr Clark's family: "Please accept from me and I expect everyone in this room our sympathies for your loss.

"It has been a trying and upsetting inquest to prepare and read and difficult for all concerned I'm sure."