Farmer killed in silage bale accident

A Devon livestock farmer has died after a silage bale fell on him from a handler.

Simon Whittaker, 40, was killed when a bale slipped from a JCB as he was trying to cut it open.

It is believed Simon had lifted a bale to cut the bottom open with a knife, a job he did routinely, when it slipped and hit him.

His body was found by his father, Arthur, at Bradford Manor farm near Bridgerule on Thursday (1 April) evening with the open blade by his side.

Arthur said his son had been working alone on the 370-acre beef and sheep farm to prepare a barn for indoor lambing because of poor weather.

He said he was struggling to understand how Simon had been killed as he usually took precautions and would not normally have stood close enough to be hit.

“What he was doing was nothing unusual,” he told the Western Morning News.

“It was just regular farming work. He had done that same operation hundreds of times.

“He was a very safe JCB driver and I didn’t consider what he was doing to be a dangerous job.

“I wouldn’t have allowed him to work alone if I’d have thought that.”

The police and the Health and Safety Executive visited the farm on Friday (2 April) to carry out an investigation.