The unanswered questions after grandma was tasered dead when police refused to release video of the incident and the officer was suspended with full pay
- Clare Nowland, 95, passed away on Wednesday night
- The death came a week after she was tasered by the officer
- Senior Constable has been charged with the incident
- Police commissioner refuses to release bodycam video
The death of a 95-year-old great-grandmother who was allegedly tasered by a police officer has sent shockwaves across Australia. An officer is charged and the police refuse to release any footage of the incident.
Clare Nowland, a dementia sufferer weighing just 43kg, was tasered after 4am last Wednesday at a retirement home in Cooma. She was holding a steak knife as she ‘slowly’ approached a police officer at Yallambee Lodge in southern NSW.
Senior Officer Kristian White, 33, reportedly used a taser on Ms Nowland, causing her to fall to the ground, hit her head and suffer a brain hemorrhage. She died shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday at Cooma Hospital.
Just an hour after the death, Constable White was charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault with actual bodily harm, and common assault.
A protest is planned in Sydney over her death, with protesters set to march from Paramatta railway station to NSW police station at 12:00pm.
Sunrise host Natalie Barr asked former NSW Police Detective Peter Moroney if things could have turned out differently for Ms Nowland.
“As a former police officer, even when I looked at it, the questions in my mind were that she’s 95, that she was walking on a walker, was there an alternative option out there, that could have been done? It’s hard to comment,” he said.
“As a father, especially a son, what happened is devastating to the family. I would like answers and they deserve answers too.’
The former detective was asked if he thought the senior officer’s charges would be upgraded to manslaughter or murder.
‘Look, there’s a reasonable chance it is. It is clear that the recklessness and grievous bodily harm occurred before Mrs. Nowland’s death.
“I would absolutely expect the police or the DPP to consider that now in light of her passing.”
Commissioner Webb addressed the media after Constable White was indicted.
“This matter is now in court and there is little more I can say about it than to say that the Nowland family has been made aware of this development.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Nowland and her family tonight.”
The agent will appear before the Cooma local court on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.
Among the charges he faces, reckless infliction of grievous bodily harm carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Assault involving actual bodily harm carries a prison sentence of up to seven years, while a conviction for common assault can lead to up to two years behind bars.
The officer remains suspended, with pay.
Clare Nowland, a dementia sufferer who weighed just 43kg, was tasered at a retirement home in Cooma just after 4am last Wednesday
The Yallambee Lodge in South NSW where the Taser incident took place is pictured
Police Commissioner Karen Webb (pictured) said her ‘thoughts and prayers are with Ms Nowland and her family tonight’
Commissioner Webb said: “His employment will continue to be reviewed but at this time he is still suspended from the workplace”.
She added that the charges against White could be upgraded. ‘It is possible. It depends on what happens,” she said.
The police chief faced criticism this week after she publicly refused to release or view bodycam footage of Ms Nowland being tasered, saying she was ‘concerned’ that the public would want to see it.
When asked again on Wednesday evening why she would not release the footage of Ms. Nowland being tasered, she replied: “I am not the investigator.”
The investigation into the incident continues.
CLARE NOWLAND’S TIMELINE IS TASERED BY OFFICER
Wednesday, May 17, 4 p.m.: Police were called to the Yallambee Lodge nursing home
Clare Nowland stood in the kitchen with a serrated steak knife
A senior officer fired his taser into the great-grandmother’s chest and back
Ms Nowland fell backwards, hit her head on the floor and was taken to hospital with a fractured skull and brain haemorrhage
Wednesday, May 17, 4:41 p.m: NSW Police released a statement saying a critical investigation has been launched after an ‘elderly woman sustained injuries while interacting with police at a retirement home’
Friday morning May 19: Community lawyer Andrew Thaler told Daily Mail Australia Ms Nowland is now receiving end-of-life care at the hospital
Saturday May 20: NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said she had no plans to release the body-worn police view of the incident or watch it herself
Monday May 22: Commissioner Webb defended the original police statement calling the case an ‘interaction’ and omitted that Ms Nowland had been tasered
Tuesday May 23: Senior Constable Kristian White was suspended with pay. Police minister revealed that an elderly carer has received death threats
Wednesday, May 24: 5:30 pm White was charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault with actual bodily harm, and common assault
6:50 pm said Commissioner Webb the charges against White could be upgraded. ‘It is possible. It depends on what happens,” she said
19:00 Clare Nowland dies surrounded by family at Cooma Hospital