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Stampeding cows trample woman on treasure hunt near Lincoln

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 21, 2013

Stampeding cows trample woman on treasure hunt
Comments (6)

A woman is in intensive care after she was trampled by a herd of cows during a hi-tech geocaching treasure hunt.

Nurse Sarah Leonard, 59, suffered severe injuries in the incident, including broken arms, a broken collarbone, broken jaw and several broken ribs.

Despite her injuries, Miss Leonard managed to dial 999 herself. But because she couldn't give her exact location, it took emergency services half an hour to rush to her aid.

It happened in a field off Church Lane at North Scarle, eight miles from Lincoln city centre, on Saturday afternoon.

Miss Leonard was taking part in "geocaching", which involves searching for a hidden box using a satellite GPS tracking receiver.

She was rushed to Lincoln County Hospital and has this week undergone several operations.

She is now in a stable condition and her brother, Andrew Leonard, said she was out of danger.

Mr Leonard, 62, an advanced driving consultant from Buckinghamshire, said: "She is very slowly on the mend."

Miss Leonard, from Norton near Sheffield, was with her dog Megs when the drama unfolded at 3.25pm on Saturday, November 16.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: "We received a call from a woman saying she had been injured and was lying in a field. She said she had been hurt when cows stampeded and knocked her over.

"Although she didn't know exactly where she was, within half-an-hour her car was located at North Scarle cemetery.

"And she was found in the field off Church Lane in the village soon after.

"The woman was in quite a bad way, with severe injuries including a broken jaw and other fractures."

The spokesman added that PCSO Jo Mackie of the Hykeham Rural South Neighbourhood Policing Team had been thanked by the woman's family for finding her dog.

"PCSO Mackie was just coming off duty when the incident happened on Saturday.

"And, when she came back on Sunday, she went out with the lady's brother and – after a search – found her dog, which had run off."

Geocaching involves hiding a small waterproof box containing a logbook and a pen, recording its co-ordinates and logging its location on a website. Another cacher will

see the listing, enter the co-ordinates into their GPS receiver and go in search of it.

The Geocaching Association of Great Britain's (GAGB) code of conduct simply states: "Respect property rights and seek permission where appropriate."

Its chairman Jen Harkley said: "News of Sarah's accident at the weekend did reach us and we have passed on our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

"The GAGB aren't able to discuss the accident as we don't know the circumstances or details of her injuries.

"However, I have sent a message to one of her geocaching friends who is in contact with her family."

Pete Dudley posted Miss Leonard's plight on the Geocaching Midlands Facebook page.

He said: "Take care out there folks. Unfortunately, I have some upsetting news.

"Sarah Leonard was caching on Saturday and she was stampeded by a herd of cows.

"Unfortunately this left her seriously injured and she is now in intensive care in hospital.

"She has a number of fractures, is stable and is sedated for pain control.

Paul Batchelor of Geocaching Midlands (GeM) said on Facebook: "Sarah's brother Andrew has e-mailed me.

"He said on Sunday that Sarah was under light sedation and still on a ventilator to assist her breathing but was much better.

"The dog and her car are now back in Sheffield and the dog is being looked after by close friends and neighbours.

"Andrew has sent very special thanks to Jo Mackie of the Lincolnshire Police for her assistance."

Parish councillor Chris Dixon, of Home Farm in High Street, North Scarle, said he'd never heard of geocaching.

"You'd have thought permission would be required from the landowner to bury something on farmland," he said. "I've never been approached – and I don't have any cows."

Anyone who saw Miss Leonard at North Scarle can call Lincolnshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 282 of November 16.

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  • proximato  |  November 22 2013, 8:09PM

    Terrible that this should happen to someone just going out for a nice walk. Perhaps farmers ought to consider that the majority of people don't really know much (if anything at all) about cows. They know if there's a public footpath on their land, they choose to put cows on it, they know people often use these paths to walk their dogs... It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a sign would be a good idea. But what would it say? Warning: do not walk your dog here as there are cows and they may attack? Would that be a bit like... well... effectively stopping people from getting free and full access to public rights of way? How very unlike farmers!! ;-)

    Rate 0
  • Singedrac  |  November 22 2013, 1:21AM

    So wait, she had a GPS device but couldn't tell dispatchers exactly where she was?

    Rate   2
  • Menshy  |  November 21 2013, 9:17PM

    theover60s - I agree, the dog running off probably saved her life. I've been terrorised by cows when walking public footpaths with dogs on a lead - it never happens when you've no dog.... I now never cross a field with cows in it if I have a dog with me. I make that choice but I suppose other might see it as the farmers responsibility to ensure the safe passage of the people using public footpaths that cross their land.

    Rate   2
  • Auranya  |  November 21 2013, 12:40PM

    No geocaches are ever buried, it is against the websites rules. I hope th e lady in question makes a full recovery and is able to cache again.

    Rate   12
  • Auranya  |  November 21 2013, 12:40PM

    No geocaches are ever buried, it is against the websites rules. I hope th e lady in question makes a full recovery and is able to cache again.

    Rate   6
  • theover60s  |  November 21 2013, 10:58AM

    when someone is hurt by cattle theres nearly always a dog involved, cows and dogs dont mix

    Rate   9
  • 4caster  |  November 21 2013, 10:52AM

    I am saddened to read of Sarah's injuries. I hope and pray that they are simple fractures, and that she makes a ull recovery. A herd of cows can be dangerous. And they don't like dogs. If you must cross a field of cows, carry a stout stick, wave it menacingly and use it if they get too near. Talk to them, or even shout at them.

    Rate   11