POLICE marksmen shot dead a runaway cow as it hurtled towards a school.
The animal – a young female Highland cross heifer with horns – escaped from Farlington marshes 1pm on Tuesday.
As reported in The News yesterday, it bolted through four fences and ended up on the A27.
Terrified by the traffic, it continued running up the A27 sliproad on to the A3M where stunned motorists called police.
The busy road was closed northbound while officers tried to corner it so it could be caught but with no luck. But the animal ran off towards Crookhorn.
Russell Brown, animal rescue specialist for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, was called in along with an police armed response unit and park rangers from nearby Staunton Country Park.
Mr Brown said: ‘It was spooked, for whatever reason, and decided to run for it.
‘Once they wind themselves up they can carry on and carry on.’
The animal managed to run through a field, on to Crookhorn Lane, up Apollo Drive and on to Crookhorn Golf Course. It was found on the 10th fairway.
Mr Brown said: ‘At that stage, because of conflicting reports, we were not sure if it was a Limousine bull.
‘On advice from me, it was decided the best course of action would be to shoot it – to euthanise it. It was about 40 minutes from the three local schools packing up – it was a danger to human safety.
‘Its temperament would not have allowed it to be easily corralled into a situation where it could have been calmed down.’
Between 1pm and 3.30pm the animal ran more than five miles.
It is not known what spooked the cow.
The herd is based in Romsey but was grazing on Farlington marshes over the winter.
Police are responsible when an animal runs out of control in a public space and the RSPCA said shooting an animal as big as a cow or bull is the most humane, and the safest for public protection, way of killing it.
Motorists photographed the animal on the A3(M).