Middleton man killed by 'agitated' horse in Lancashire

A man has died and his wife has been seriously injured by a horse in Lancashire.

They were towing a horse box on the A56 in Haslingden on Wednesday evening when the horse became agitated, police said.

The man, 51, from Middleton in Greater Manchester, stopped his vehicle to tend to the animal, which kicked him in the head. His skull was fractured.

His wife suffered a broken femur and chest injuries. The couple's teenage daughter was present but was not hurt.

'Freak accident'

Croft Top Equestrian Centre in Accrington said it was believed the family was on their way to a show-jumping event there. She was treated in hospital for shock.

Police said when paramedics arrived at about 18:00 GMT they found the man unconscious and trapped in the horse box with the horse.

An emergency vet was called to the scene to sedate the animal and enable the man to receive treatment but he died at the scene.

Police said the horse became agitated while it was being transported and managed to dislodge the enclosure in the horse box which restricts movement and supports the animal in transit.

When the man entered the horse box the animal injured him.

His wife then entered the compartment to try to help her husband but was also repeatedly kicked and had to retreat.

The horse was taken to the Croft Top Equestrian Centre where it remains.

Ken Holden, who owns the centre, described the man's death as a "freak accident".

He said: "Horses do sometimes get distressed in transport but this is a very rare occurrence because they normally travel quite well.

"I don't know what caused the panic attack but the horse was heavily sedated when it arrived and after two or three hours when it came round it was all right. It is OK today."

Mr Holden said he had been in touch with the owners' family about when they would collect the horse.

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