Cambridge academic seriously ill after being gored through the neck by a STAG during holiday in the Highlands

  • Dr Kate Stone is seriously ill in hospital and may never walk again
  • She was on holiday in Scottish Highlights when stag charged at her
  • It lowered its head and impaled her on antlers, piercing her spinal chord
  • A local gamekeeper described the incident as 'one in a million'

A Cambridge academic is seriously ill in hospital after a giant stag charged out of the darkness and gored her through the neck.

Kate Stone was on holiday in the Scottish Highlands when the beast charged into her in a ‘one-in-a-million’ accident.

Friends watched in horror as the spooked red deer lowered its head and impaled her on its antlers before shaking itself free.

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'Serious but stable': Dr Kate Stone was gored in the neck by a stag in the early hours of Monday

Dangerous: The animal's antlers pierced Dr Stone's throat, leaving her in critical condition (file picture)

The antlers pierced Dr Stone’s throat and she had to be airlifted to a Glasgow hospital for emergency treatment for neck and spinal injuries.

Last night doctors said the scientist was in a ‘serious but stable’ condition.

Dr Stone, 44, and a group of friends were on a three-day festive break and had been at a ceilidh on Sunday evening before being invited back to local musician Jim Hunter’s home at Lochailort, near Fort William.

The 44-year-old is a keen hiker and outdoor enthusiast

The group were laughing and chatting, said Mr Hunter. ‘We had been to the pub up the road and were coming back to my house through the gate.

'It was pitch black and we were using torches to navigate our way back and the big stag must have got trapped in the garden as we have deer fences around it.

'It must have panicked when it saw us and the only way out was through the gate that we were standing at. It just ran at us and went straight through us.

‘Kate was at the back of the group and its antlers must have caught her in the neck. The stag then made for the hills. It was a completely freakish accident, I’ve never seen the like of it before.

‘I think I know the one it is, it’s been hanging around. It’s a three-year-old stag, around 150kg. These are big fellas, you don’t mess with them, they’ll take your car out.’

The group initially thought Dr Stone had simply been knocked over but quickly realised that it was more serious.

She was rushed to hospital in Fort William but then flown by air ambulance for specialist treatment at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, where she is understood to be in intensive care.

Dr Stone, who has two children, is a research engineer in the Institute of Manufacturing at Cambridge and has set up her own technology company, Novalia.

She was part of a group of three men and four women visiting the area – hill walking and enjoying the scenery – and staying at the Mo-Dhachaidh Guest House.

The group was approaching this gate when the stag seemingly panicked and charged Dr Stone who was the tallest in the group

A young stag pictured crossing the road in Fort William where Dr Stone was staying with friends before the attack

Owner Gary Burton, 51, said: ‘No one here has heard of anything like this in their lifetime, it has shocked the community.

‘It’s a cornered stag with no alternative exit route, it would have just been in a panic. It had nowhere else to go but through the group and unfortunately it seems Kate was in the way.

‘The force of the attack and impact must have been ferocious. I went to the scene later and found Kate’s mobile phone smashed into tiny bits.

‘I understand the type of injury Kate has suffered can cause quadriplegia or paraplegia.

The group had been at a ceilidh at the Lochailort Inn (pictured) before being invited to Mr Hunter's home where the attack occurred

She was telling me she enjoyed the outdoors in the hills and camping on her own in remote places, so any form of paralysis to such an active person will be a disaster.’

One local gamekeeper with more than 40 years of experience with Highland stags said he had never heard of such an incident.

He added: ‘For a stag to come out of the darkness like this and go for someone is highly unusual – a chance in a million.’

In November, a deer farmer died after being attacked by a stag. Kenneth Price, 75, was gored in Llandysul, Wales.

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