A two-tonne elephant, named Tanya, (not pictured) killed an elderly man during a rampage man after escaping from an electrified pen.

A pensioner who was playing boulles has died after he was attacked by a rogue elephant that had escaped from a circus.

Tanya, a two-tonne circus elephant, went on the rampage after breaking out from an electrified enclosure in the French village of Lizy-sur-Ourcq, 35 miles outside Paris.

According to investigators, she battered the 84-year-old man with her trunk and then stamped on him.

The victim, who has not been named, died from his injuries in hospital in nearby Kremlin-Bicetre.

Witnesses reported the animal as appearing "angry and upset". It had been performing to a sell-out audience on the day of the attack.

They claimed that Tanya grabbed a tarpaulin with her trunk and used it to cover the electric fence surrounding her enclosure before storming though two barriers, including one formed by a ring of circus trailers.

A police spokesman said: "Tanya attacked the first person she came across, who was an 84-year-old man playing petanque in the village square with his friends.

"She slammed him to the ground with her trunk in a manner which left him with terrible injuries. She then trampled on him."

Animal rights campaigners have accused Cirque d'Europe - the managers of the show at which the elephant was performing - of animal cruelty.

Tanya, who was originally called Samba, was allegedly trained by staff to lie on the ground under the big top, as crowds including hundreds of children screamed and shouted.

"We were told that when Samba refused to perform one day, she was hit repeatedly by her trainer who only stopped because the children were in tears," Muriel Arnal, of rights group One Voice, said.

"I think Samba wanted to escape and the [victim] was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

One Voice has filed a criminal lawsuit against Cirque d'Europe, which denied mistreating the elephant.

The victim's brother also pledged to take legal action against the circus for failing to safeguard the public.