A FORMER Oxford academic who became a millionaire after inventing a device for needle-free injections has been trampled to death in a field of cattle.

Professor Brian Bellhouse, 80, died despite efforts to revive him in a field in Church Lane in the village of Guestling, near Hastings, on Monday morning.

Police and paramedics performed CPR on the ex-Magdalen College don and an air ambulance was scrambled to the scene but Prof Bellhouse was pronounced dead at 11.46am.

As Sussex Police formally identified Prof Bellhouse on Wednesday, a force spokesman said: “There are no suspicious circumstances and the matter has been passed to the coroner’s officer.”

Prof Bellhouse, who lived in Winchelsea, co-founded PowderJect in 1993, which became one of the first companies to be successfully spun out by the University of Oxford.

It was sold a decade later to US firm Chiron for £542 million, triggering multimillion-pound windfalls for Prof Bellhouse, his son-in-law, the Labour donor Paul Drayson who was elevated to the House of Lords in 2004, and their families.

The firm was founded to commercialise the research findings of Prof Bellhouse who had invented a way of giving needle-free injections involving a helium gas trigger delivering a powdered drug.

Magdalen College paid tribute to the former academic, who arrived there in 1957 to read for a degree in mathematics and later became a major donor to the college.

“The college is very sad to announce that Professor Brian Bellhouse has passed away at the age of 80,” a spokesman said.

“He obtained his DPhil in Engineering Science in 1964 and was then made a Fellow by Examination. He was elected an Official Fellow in Engineering Science in 1966. On his retirement in 2004 he was elected an Emeritus Fellow. “Brian co-founded the company PowderJect in 1993 which became one of the first companies to be spun-out successfully from the University of Oxford and was based at our Oxford Science Park.

“Brian was a major donor to the college and endowed the Oxford-Bellhouse Graduate Scholarship at Magdalen in biomedical engineering.”