Woman, 95, with dementia dies a week after being tasered by police

A 95-year-old gran who was tasered by police in her care home has died from her injuries.

Clare Nowland, who suffers from dementia, was found with a steak knife and a walking frame by staff at the Yallambee Lodge in Cooma, southeastern Australia, last Wednesday.

Ms Nowland had left her bedroom, taken a knife from a nearby kitchen and walked to a medical treatment room at around 4am.

Kristian White, 33, was one of the police officers called to the scene in order to ‘de-escalate’ the situation, but upon arrival he instead shot the 95-year-old with a stun gun, causing her to suffer a serious head injury as a result of the fall.

Ms Nowland was rushed to hospital and admitted to palliative care, where she later died as a result of her injuries.

Officer White has now been charged with causing grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm and common assault and will appear in court next week, police have confirmed.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb told a press conference: ‘This matter now is before the court and there’s little more that I can say about it other than to say that the Nowland family have been informed of this development’.

‘It is with great sadness we confirm the passing of 95-year-old Clare Nowland in Cooma tonight,’ New South Wales police said in a statement.

‘Ms Nowland passed away peacefully in hospital just after 7 p.m. this evening, surrounded by family and loved ones who have requested privacy during this sad and difficult time.’

Australian police are permitted to use stun guns when lives are in danger.

But the violence against an elderly and incapacitated woman has sparked a national debate about the police use of stun guns in such circumstances and the competence of care staff.

Webb said that White’s employment will be under constant review, but at the moment he is ‘suspended from the workplace’.

The charges against him could be upgraded at a later date depending on the court proceedings, she added.

Josh Pallas, president of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, has called for police to stop using tasers on vulnerable people following the incident.

‘Police overreach and disproportionality are common themes we see repeating over multiple incidents in NSW,’ he said.

‘Surely, there must be more appropriate ways to deal with non-compliant people who are suffering.’

If convicted, White could face up to 10 years in prison in relation to the GBH charge.

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