A farm business must pay more than £100,000 in a fine and costs after an escaped cow killed a teacher who was on a family walk.

Marian Clode, 61, was on an Easter break in Northumberland in 2016 when she was tossed over a gate by the cow which had repeatedly charged at her, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

At a hearing on Wednesday, JM Nixon and Son, which runs Swinhoe Farm, Belford, admitted failing to ensure the safety of persons, other than employees, by exposing them to risks to their safety from the movement of cattle.

Judge Tim Gittins passed sentence on Friday, fining the firm £72,500 and ordering it to also pay £34,700 costs, plus a victim surcharge of several hundred pounds.

The Northern Farmer: Marian Clode, who died while on a family walk in Northumberland in 2016, after an escaped cow

Tom Gent, for the farm business, said assets would have to be sold to make the payment and the judge granted the firm 12 months to pay.

The judge described what went wrong as a “salutary lesson” for herdsmen of the necessity to plan and then review that plan when moving livestock “however usually docile” they may be.

Farmer Alastair Nixon was moving his herd of beef cattle from winter quarters to summer grazing when a group of about 15 cows and calves escaped containment and made off along a public bridleway, over the brow of a hill and out of sight.

Mr Nixon, who had earlier checked the path was clear on his quad bike, did not immediately follow them, thinking they would stop to graze or would come back for their calves.

The Northern Farmer: The bridleway where Marian Clode died while on a family walk in Northumberland in 2016

Heading in the opposite direction was Mrs Clode, her husband, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, and the cattle approached them “at speed”, the judge said.

He added: “Mrs Clode was simply not in a position to take any evasive action when one of the cows turned on her and repeatedly attacked her in the distressing way described by those witnessing it.

“Others had to take what emergency steps they could, children being lifted at speed over fences, others catching themselves on the barbed wire as they sought shelter from the stampeding cattle.”

Mrs Clode, a fit and active popular primary school teacher, suffered severe spinal injuries and died three days later in hospital.

The family were staying in holiday accommodation on the farm and had been walking to a local landmark, St Cuthbert’s Cave, with Mrs Clode at the front of the group.

Mrs Clode was born in Londonderry and lived in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester.

The farm had been in the Nixon family since 1939, the judge said, and there had been no previous safety concerns.

The business has now changed its cattle movement practices and there have been no incidents since Mrs Clode’s death, the court heard.

The family said in a statement after sentencing: “In the seconds we had to react, Marian, who was a little ahead, had the least time, but still managed to move to the side of the track and make herself as inconspicuous as possible, tucked against a wooden gate, beneath an overhanging tree.

“Despite this, Marian was attacked by the lead cow and suffered fatal injuries.

“In the immediate aftermath of the incident and in the months and now years which have passed, we believed Marian lost her life because of JM Nixon and Son’s failure to implement even the most basic safe systems of work.

“Marian’s death was completely avoidable, which makes coming to terms with our loss even more difficult.”