Dementia patient, 95, dies in hospital after being tasered by Australian police officer who has been charged with assault

24 May 2023, 14:11 | Updated: 24 May 2023, 14:49

Clare Nowland died in hospital last night.
Clare Nowland died in hospital last night. Picture: PA//Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

A 95-year-old dementia sufferer has died after being tasered in an Australian care home by a police officer who has been charged in relation to her death.

Senior constable Kristian White faces up to 10 years in jail after 95-year-old great grandmother Clare Nowland died in Cooma Base hospital.

It was reported Ms Nowland left the room of her aged care facility, Yallambee Lodge, with a steak knife and later approached an officer with the knife in hand – while also using her walking frame at the same time.

Many condemned the officer’s use of force after it emerged Ms Nowland had been rushed to hospital with her injuries.

Senior constable Kristian White, 33, is due to appear in court on July 5 for assault offences.

The offences include: bodily harm, common assault and recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

It was confirmed Clare Nowland died on Wednesday night at a last-minute press conference.

The NSW police commissioner Karen Webb said: “The Nowland family have been informed of this development and our prayers and thoughts are with Mrs Nowland.”

She also added that Ms Nowland’s family have been notified of the charges Kristian White is facing for the assault.

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Read more: ‘She had a walking frame but she had a knife’: Police defend tasering of woman, 95, as she receives end-of-life care

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After the dementia patient was tasered, she fell and hit her head, which caused the injuries that required hospital care.

She suffered from a fractured skull among other critical injuries.

Police have footage of the incident, as it was recorded on body cameras – but commissioner Webb has rejected calls to release the footage, adding that she will not view it herself until the investigative team had finished gathering evidence.

She said: “This has been traumatic for everyone in the police force.

“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.”

She also defended her decision to suspend White from duty with pay, as she said 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.”

“This matter now is before the court and there is little more that I can say about it other than the Nowland family have been informed of this development.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs Nowland and her family this evening.”

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