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Aussies stunned by 95yo woman’s Tasering

Aussies have been stunned by a police incident in which an elderly lady was struck with a Taser.
Aussies have been stunned by a police incident in which an elderly lady was struck with a Taser.

Australians have reacted with disbelief after a NSW Police officer used a Taser on a 95-year-old woman with dementia, causing her to fall and hit her head.

Clare Nowland remains in a critical condition in Cooma District Hospital after she was Tasered at her nursing home in the southern NSW regional town early on Wednesday morning, causing her to fall and sustain life-threatening injuries.

Police were called to the Yallambee Lodge in Cooma in the early hours of Wednesday morning to help disarm Ms Nowland, who they say was armed with a serrated steak knife when they arrived at the aged care facility.

Police say they tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with Ms Nowland to get her to drop the knife before she advanced at them, which is when a senior constable with 12 years’ experience deployed his Taser on her.

Ms Nolan then fell to the ground and struck her head.

Police have said the officer who used the Taser has stopped working and is under review, while the incident is being investigated internally by officers from the force’s homicide squad.

Clare Nowland was a resident at the Yallambee Lodge in Cooma.
Clare Nowland was a resident at the Yallambee Lodge in Cooma.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter said on Friday Ms Nowland, who is 5’2” and weighs 43kg, was approaching police when she was Tasered.

“It is fair to say at a slow pace. She had a walking frame, but she had a knife,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“I can’t take it any further what was going through anyone’s mind with the use of a Taser. That is for them.”

People were quick to express their shock on social media after Mr Cotter revealed Ms Nowland had been on a walking frame – asking questions about whether the police response was necessary given her age and frail condition.

“Using a walking frame, walking slowly. Ffs, you could have disarmed her with the offer of a cup of tea and a biscuit,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“There’s more to be revealed, but this seems to be a ridiculous and inappropriate response. 95yo, 5’2”, 43kg, walking frame: a hazard to a ‘senior constable’. She was 95,” another person wrote.

Another person said: “OMG what were they thinking? (police I mean). Clearly more training is required.”