Tributes to “caring” Stephen Brown found dead at his Harling Farm home

Tributes have been paid to a Norfolk farmer found dead at his home days after an investigation was launched into allegations of cruelty at his farm.

The body of Stephen Brown, 52, of Harling Farm, near Thetford, was discovered at around 7.30am yesterday morning.

The RSPCA had begun an investigation when animal rights group Animal Equality produced video footage of pigs being kicked, slapped and beaten with iron bars.

The group sent an undercover investigator to work at the farm for two months last summer and gathered more than 200 hours of footage and 300 photographs.

Those that knew him yesterday spoke about the gentle man whose family had farmed in East Harling for generations.


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Leader of Breckland Council, William Nunn, a farmer at The Oaks, North Lopham, said he had known Mr Brown for more than 25 years.

He added: 'Being farmers we've known each other for years. As a friend he taught me to water-ski because he was a great believer in getting people into it - it was one of his passions. He was a larger than life person, very gregarious, and very willing to help people out. If a friend was in trouble there was nothing he wouldn't do. 'I think we're all gobsmacked - it's a terrible thing for his family. I think he was really shocked by the pig thing - I think because he was a soft-hearted caring farmer it caught him off-guard.'

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Tim Jolly, of Roudham Farm, East Harling, said he was not close to Mr Brown but had last spoken to him on Friday.

'Our thoughts are with his father, Michael, and Stephen's wife and children and everyone who is connected with the family,' he said. 'I know that the farming community will offer whatever support it can. He's a work colleague and we've dealt with him in the past and always found him to be very straight-forward. I think that the farming industry is reeling. It is unbelievable how it has hit everybody.'

Police said Mr Brown's death was not being treated as suspicious.

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