Vigil for cow killed by police gun
A vigil will be held for a cow that was shot dead by police marksmen after it escaped from a field.
More than 6,000 people have "liked" a Facebook page titled RIP the Wallsend Cow after the beast was shot in North Tyneside on Sunday afternoon.
Its organisers have asked people to wear cow onesies and bring candles to the vigil at 6.30pm on Friday at the field in Chicken Lane, Wallsend.
Northumbria Police justified the decision to destroy the animal, saying the cow, since dubbed Bessie by well-wishers, was becoming distressed and was putting the public at risk as it was close to the major Coast Road dual-carriageway.
It was one of three cows that escaped from the nearby Rising Sun Country Park.
Freelance photographer John Millard saw at least 15 police vehicles at the scene, as well as the police helicopter overhead.
Just as he was lining up a long lens photo of the cow in a field, it was floored by a marksman.
He said: "I thought I would get a nice shot of the cow and I didn't even have chance to hit the button on the camera when it dropped to the floor.
"People were aghast.
"It was not near the road, it was a football field away."
Before he arrived to cover the story for the Newcastle-based Chronicle newspaper people had been petting the cow, he was told by locals.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "At just before 2.25pm, on Sunday, May 17, police received a report of cows in the road on Wiltshire Drive, Wallsend heading towards the Coast Road.
"Police attended the scene to locate the cows which had escaped from the nearby Rising Sun Country Park.
"One cow was located on a field near the Coast Road.
"The Coast Road was closed in both directions to allow attempts to be made to recover the cow.
"However, the cow was in a highly distressed state and considered to be a significant risk to members of the public and motorists.
"The decision was made for the animal to be destroyed by firearms officers at the scene."