Cows trample former Edinburgh lecturer to death

The field in which Alistair Porter was trampled in Turleigh, Wiltshire. Picture: submitted
The field in which Alistair Porter was trampled in Turleigh, Wiltshire. Picture: submitted
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A RETIRED Edinburgh University professor has been trampled to death by a rampaging herd of cows while out walking his dog.

Michael Porter, 66, was crushed when the 30 cattle stampeded as he crossed a farmer’s field in Turleigh, Wiltshire, with two dogs.

Mike Porter. Picture: PA

Mike Porter. Picture: PA

Mr Porter’s brother John, 72, was left fighting for his life with a collapsed lung and broken ribs. John’s wife Mary, 77, witnessed the terrifying charge but escaped unharmed.

It is the fourth cow attack in the sleepy village in five years.

Mr Porter, a recently retired senior lecturer at the Centre for Population Health Sciences at Edinburgh University, suffered chest injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

His brother was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital.

The attack happened on Monday, Mr Porter’s son Nick’s 31st birthday.

Nick and brother Robert, 28, were last night comforting mother Adrienne Sillar, at their home in Edinburgh.

Two air ambulances and a land vehicle attended the tragic incident at around 12.45pm.

A spokeswoman for the South Western Ambulance Service said: “One male patient suffered chest injuries and was declared deceased at the scene.

“The second male’s injuries were thought to be non-life threatening but he deteriorated after complaining of pain on his left side.

“Two air ambulances and a land vehicle attended the incident.”

The field is a popular shortcut for walkers and has a public footpath running through it.

The killer cows have been removed from the tragic scene to a nearby field.

Alison Bossom, 59, has lived near the family in Monkton Combe, Somerset, for 27 years and described them as “good Christian people”.

‘Lovely and caring person’

Mr Porter’s family paid tribute to a “lovely and caring person”, who had lectured at Edinburgh University for more than 40 years until his retirement in 2011.

“Mike was killed on Monday in a freak accident when walking with his brother in Wiltshire,” his family, including wife Adrienne and sons Nick, 31, and Robbie, 28, said in a statement released by police.

“He leaves Adrienne and their two sons and a very large group of friends who are devastated by the loss of such a lovely and caring person.

“We are still concerned about the health of Mike’s brother who was badly injured in the accident and airlifted to hospital.

“We are in shock and devastated by the loss of our lovely Mike.”

Mr Porter, who lived in the Newington area of Edinburgh, had a lengthy academic career, publishing his research in many areas of medical practice and medical sociology.

“He was very popular with his medical students,” his family said.

“We are in discussion with the coroner and would ask people to respect our need for privacy at this time.

“We would also like to thank our incredible friends and family for their warmth and support.”