Tasered 95yo dies after cop charged
The great-grandmother who was tasered by police in an incident that outraged the nation has died from her injuries.
The Daily Telegraph said Clare Nowland, 95, died in Cooma hospital on Wednesday night surrounded by family.
Her family told the newspaper her death came shortly after the officer who discharged the taser at the 95-year-old was charged with three offences.
NSW Police later issued a statement confirming Ms Nowland’s death.
“It is with great sadness we confirm the passing of 95-year-old Clare Nowland in Cooma tonight,” the police statement said.
“Mrs Nowland passed away peacefully in hospital just after 7pm this evening, surrounded by family and loved ones who have requested privacy during this sad and difficult time.
“Our thoughts and condolences remain with those who were lucky enough to know, love, and be loved by Mrs Nowland during a life she led hallmarked by family, kindness and community.”
Senior Constable Kristian White, 33, will face charges of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault when he fronts Cooma Local Court on July 5, police said.
Earlier on Wednesday evening, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said it was “possible” the charges could be upgraded “depending on what happens.
Officers were called to Yallambee Lodge aged care home in Cooma about 4.15am on Wednesday after resident Clare Nowland, who has dementia, was found by staff holding a steak knife.
Police allege she was still armed with the knife when they arrived at the aged care facility.
After officers failed to get her to drop the knife, an experienced officer discharged a taser, allegedly causing Ms Nowland to fall and hit her head.
She was taken to Cooma Hospital “in and out of consciousness”, and her family were by her side while she received end-of-life care.
Ms Nowland was approaching the officers at a “slow pace” while assisted by a walking frame when the taser was fired according to NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter
Mr White remains suspended with pay as investigations continue.
The Police Commissioner said the charges come after a “proper investigation that is not prejudiced”.
“I’m confident that we have come to a position now, seven days later, that this matter is before the court without interference,” Ms Webb said.
She said bodycam footage of the incident alone did not lead to the charging of the officer, but rather “all the evidence”, including witness statements and expert testimony.
Ms Webb said on Wednesday that she had not watched the body-camera footage of the incident but had “heard what‘s in the footage”.
“I am concerned about what that will reveal and that will be brought out in court, like any other matter,” she said.
The homicide squad were brought into assist the inquiry which was labelled as a “critical incident” due to the nature of Ms Nowland’s injuries.
Her family have previously thanked the public for their support and described the ordeal as a “worrying and distressing time”.
“Well respected, much loved and a giving member of her local community, Clare is the loving and gentle-natured matriarch of the Nowland family,” the statement said.
NSW Police have come under heavy scrutiny in the wake of the incident, with Ms Webb saying that it’s not yet known why the confrontation was handled in that way by officers.
“We don’t know why the aged care facility called police in the first place,” she said on the Today Show.
“Police officers are trained in a number of tactical options to use the least amount of force.
“Until we actually understand why, we won’t really know.”
Ms Webb added on Wednesday night the incident had been an ordeal for NSW Police.
“Of course this has been traumatic for everyone in the police force and this is one matter while the rest of the police force continues to do their job 24/7 to protect and look after the citizens in NSW.”
NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley also offered condolences on behalf of the NSW government.
I would like to express my sincere condolences to the Nowland family for the loss of their dearly loved mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Clare Nowland,” she said.
“Our sympathies and thoughts are also extended to the community of Cooma, Mrs Nowland’s friends, as well as the residents and carers at Cooma Yallambee Lodge.
“We will continue to offer support to the Nowland family as they mourn this loss and we urge people to respect their privacy at this time.”