A tearful Wickwar farmer was today told her beloved alpaca will be killed - after a final attempt at the High Court to save it was thrown out.

Helen Macdonald's animal Geronimo was previously ordered to be slaughtered after twice testing positive for bovine tuberculosis (bTb).

She has always disputed the result - claiming The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is "relying doggedly on flawed science."

Today Helen, 50, made a final attempt in the High Court to save her alpaca from slaughter.

But today she says the judge dismissed her appeal on all grounds - with a new warrant issued that takes effect from August 5.

Speaking outside court, a sobbing Helen said: "They want his body.

"I believe I can have him put to sleep or a contractor will come and shoot him.

"But I will do right by him and I will have him put to sleep. It will be on his terms, on my terms.

"I won't have anyone breaking into my property and rounding him up and shooting him. No one deserves that.

"To be honest I'm still coming to terms with it. He's had a good life, but he should have had another ten years. He's been denied a longer life.

Helen said new evidence she brought to the table was denied, as the judge said it couldn't take anything away from the previous positive tests.

She said: "He referred back to the previous judgment - essentially the judge had taken into account new evidence we put forward but concluded it didn't overrule the previous high court judgement.

"They also said I didn't have a right to obtain new evidence."

On what evidence she brought forward she added: "The last two years of him being completely fit and healthy.

"There's vet examinations and other data about what happens to an alpaca when get Tb - they die very quickly.

"They said it doesn't take away from the fact they had two positive tests. So that's enough for them to kill him.

"So, there we are - four years of battle. We'll just pick up the pieces of our lives and carry on."

Helen previously lost a High Court appeal to challenge the environment secretary's refusal to allow Geronimo to be re-tested in 2019.

It is illegal to test an animal without permission.

Geronimo has been in quarantine with five other alpacas on her farm in Wickwar since arriving in the UK in August 2017.

The stud had tested negative for bovine TB in New Zealand but when Helen agreed to a voluntary test as part of national surveillance of the disease the result came back positive.

Defra decided to conduct a second test in November 2017, which also came back positive, and Geronimo was earmarked for slaughter.

In the past four years the restrictions enforced on her alpaca farm mean she has been unable to trade livestock or receive any income from it.

There is a legal requirement to report the disease if present or suspected in a herd, but there is no requirement for alpacas to be regularly tested.

Under The Animal Health Act 1981 Defra's secretary of state only needs to suspect the disease is present to order the slaughter of animals and limit its spread.

The British Alpaca Society is calling for more research into the testing.

The society's CEO, Duncan Pullar, told the BBC: "The system was put in place to test TB in cattle. There will be some false positives and some false negatives.

"It's frustrating that there are no learning opportunities as to why he is fit and healthy but has a failed test against his name."