Farmer furious after police kill prize £5,000 bull which was "not a danger to anyone"

BILLY BULL: Philip Marley with his bull lying where it was shot by police. Picture: STUART BOULTON.

BILLY BULL: Philip Marley with his bull lying where it was shot by police. Picture: STUART BOULTON.

First published in News
Last updated

A FURIOUS farmer has made an official complaint to North Yorkshire police after armed officers shot his prize bull.

Philip Marley, of Brambles Farm, Exelby, near Bedale, says Billy, the Blonde d’Aquitane bull, worth around £5,000, was not a danger to anyone. He has condemned the shooting as “outrageous and totally morally wrong.”

The bull was shot after getting onto a road, but Mr Marley said it had been put into a field within half-a-mile of his farm and workers were encouraging it into sheds when police marksmen killed it.

“It wasn’t an aggressive bull, I fed him everyday. We have a young girl of nine who regularly feeds him. They had no right to shoot him, he was doing no harm and he was not a danger to anyone. The police were in their fluorescent coats, they were asked to take them off. They were hell bent on destroying the animal, it’s almost as if it was target practice.

“It’s a disgrace, it would be different if he had been charging towards someone but he wasn’t, he was a lovely bull. I was on my way to get him back. They never gave us a chance.”

North Yorkshire Police said it was aware a complaint had been made. A spokesman said: "It will be dealt with by the Professional Standards Department. It would be inappropriate to comment further until this process has been completed.”

Mr Marley, 45, a cattle and sheep breeder who has two butchers shops, said it’s unlikely the insurance would pay out on Billy because he had been shot by the police.

“I’m not so bothered about that, it’s not the insurance, it’s the animal itself," he said. "He was a fine healthy bull. He was one of two. I’d had him about two-and-a-half years and would probably have kept him for another ten years."

The farmer says Billy had got into a neighbouring field of cows and was let out onto the Exelby to Burneston road when the police were called.

“But then they got him into the field, he was only around 40 yards from the sheds we use there," he said. "He knew the sheds, he wasn’t going anywhere. He weighed around a tonne so he wasn’t a fast runner. There was absolutely no need to kill him at that point."

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