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Friday, Mar 31, 2000
Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!
A gang of children used a baseball bat to beat an elderly pet bullock to death as it grazed on a village green. Three boys, aged between 10 and 12, then turned on a cow before being scared off by a man walking his dog.
Humphrey, a hand-raised Hereford cross steer that had become an unofficial parish mascot after living on the common in West End, Hampshire, for 10 years, had to be put down by a vet after being hit round the head and body. Sgt Lisa Stevens of Hampshire Police said: "Bullocks are big creatures and though Humphrey was old it must have taken some force to leave him in such a bad state."
James Stubbington, a parish ranger, was called by the man who saw the attack on Friday. He chased the boys but could not catch them. He said: "One appeared to be no older than 10 and the other two were around 12. I don't know why they did it. Most of the kids who come here are really good."
Villagers who gathered at the common were visibly shaken and several were in tears when the decision was taken to destroy the animal. Carol Boulton, 48, who raised the bullock after it was trod on by its mother as a calf, said: "He was a dear old thing and very friendly.
"The attack was particularly awful because he trusted anyone who came into the field. Everyone in West End knew who Humphrey was. The common is right in the middle of the village and dog walkers and children would visit the animals. Humphrey was getting arthritic and old but he was very much loved. I wonder what kind of adults these children will grow into."
Mona Sorge, whose husband, Graham, went to see what had happened, said: "He could hardly tell me for all his sobbing and we were both in tears. My husband flies rescue helicopters so he sees some pretty horrific sights, but I have never seen him so upset."
- The Daily Telegraph London - April 20, 2000
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