Wednesday May 24, 2023 – A 95-year-old great-grandmother has died in hospital as the police officer who allegedly Tasered her at an aged care facility was charged with three offences.
Senior constable Kristian White, 33, is due to appear in court for the offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, which can carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
He is due to appear at Cooma local court on 5 July.
Clare Nowland was allegedly Tasered by police after she was found armed with a steak knife in her home at Yallambee Lodge aged care facility in Cooma.
Guardian Australia confirmed late Wednesday May 24, that she had died.
At a hastily organised press conference on Wednesday night, the NSW police commissioner, Karen Webb, said Nowland’s family had been informed of the charges relating to what she described as a “nasty incident”.
“The Nowland family have been informed of this development and our prayers and thoughts are with Mrs Nowland,” she said.
The dementia patient sustained critical injuries including a fractured skull in the incident.
Webb, who has refused requests to release bodycam footage of the incident, said she would not view it herself until investigators had finished gathering the evidence.
“This has been traumatic for everyone in the police force,” she said.
“The community of New South Wales have trust in their police force … this is one incident out of over 2 million calls for assistance we get every year”
Webb said the charges could be upgraded based on Nowland’s condition. She also thanked the detectives who had “worked around the clock” to investigate the incident.
She defended suspending White from duty without pay, adding that people are innocent until proven guilty.
“He’s afforded the same opportunity as any other resident and his employment will continue to be reviewed, but at the moment he’s still suspended from the workplace,” she said.
NSW police minister Yasmin Catley offered condolences to the Nowland family on Wednesday evening.
“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,” Catley 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.”