UK

Slain Wallsend Cow 'Bessie' To Receive Candlelit Vigil

20/05/2015 12:25 BST | Updated 28/05/2015 08:59 BST

A candlelit vigil is to be held for a fugitive cow who was shot dead by police after escaping from a paddock.

The bovine was killed in an operation involving marksmen and a helicopter in Newcastle upon Tyne on Sunday.

Many criticised the force for destroying the animal instead of tranquilising it, though a police spokesman said the “distressed” cow was wandering close to a busy dual carriageway and was deemed a significant risk to members of the public and motorists.

Now the fallen cow – named by her supporters as Bessie – will be paid tribute to in a ceremony on Friday close to where she was killed.

A Facebook page entitled Light A Candle For Bessie has been birthed from the original RIP Wallsend Cow and at time of publication more than 400 people had signed up to attend.

The vigil will be held at 6.30pm in a field behind Chicken Road in Wallsend and the administrator of the group has asked attendees not to bring lanterns “due to dangers to them landing around other animals in fields” but to bring candles.

While Bessie's death was undoubtedly sad, others have pointed out the potential dangers had the cow made it to the road.

Andy Thompson wrote: “If they had to wait for a vet to turn up it may have taken too long. What if it had got onto the Coast Road? You could have been travelling down there with your kids in a car. Can’t imagine the carnage hitting an animal that size at 70mph could cause?

“Police don’t (now correct me if I’m wrong…) carry cow tranquiliser darts, high street vets would not have been able to deal with it. Sad to see but probably the quickest way to save a possible major traffic incident. A clean shot from a trained marksman may have saved lives of someone here’s family!”

Barry Aitchison, 56, told the Chronicle armed officers asked to enter his home to shoot the animal from an upstairs window but then changed their mind.

They later entered his neighbour’s property and shot it at 5.15pm.

He said: “It was wrong for the police to kill a cow.”