New elephant tragedy rekindles family’s pain

Andrea Taylor
Andrea Taylor
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A DAD whose daughter was killed by a rogue elephant during a holiday in Thailand told of his fresh pain today after another British tourist’s death there.

And Geoff Taylor said that this week’s incident, in which 36-year-old Scot Gareth Crowe was gored and trampled to death, was a tragedy waiting to happen because few lessons have been learnt since 20-year-old Andrea died.

The elephant, called Rambo, which killed Scots tourist Gareth Crowe

The elephant, called Rambo, which killed Scots tourist Gareth Crowe

It is now 16 years since the trainee nurse from Billinge was fatally gored while she, Geoff and her sister Helen were spectating with other tourists at the Nong Nuch Animal Park.

Helen in particular has since campaigned against the keeping of elephants in captivity in the far eastern country, winning support from animal charities.

But at his home in School Brow today, Mr Taylor said: “You hope against hope but, really, I knew this would happen again one day.

“And hearing about that poor man brought it all back.

You hope against hope but, really, I knew this would happen again one day

Geoff Taylor

“The last 16 years have flown; I think about Andrea every day. And you would have thought that lessons had been learnt in all that time. But there doesn’t appear to have been any improvement to safety measures taken in Thailand.”

Andrea was sitting among audience members watching elephants put through their paces by their handlers in 2000 when a bull in “must” charged at the group. All three were injured and doctors were unable to save Andrea.

Mr Crowe is understood to have been on an elephant trek with his teenaged daughter when he was thrown from his mount and then both trampled and gored with the animal’s tusk.

Mr Taylor said: “We went into that situation blind and had we known of the dangers would never have gone to that show.

Geoff Taylor leaves the inquest into Andrea's death death at St Helens Coroners Court in 2001 with his other daughter, Helen

Geoff Taylor leaves the inquest into Andrea's death death at St Helens Coroners Court in 2001 with his other daughter, Helen

“The family of Mr Crowe must be in a similar state and they probably went into this situation blind too. But lessons have to be learnt. Elephants are wild animals and shouldn’t be used for public entertainment.

“I know it’s very difficult out there. In a relatively poor country, performing elephants will be some people’s livelihoods and if you banned that sort of entertainment what would happen to the animals? Would they be destroyed?

“There are a lot of elephants in Thailand and they are the national emblem. The cow elephants are usually pretty docile. I’ve seen people picked up by them with their trunks. But the bulls can suddenly turn very nasty.”