95-Year-Old Female Nursing Home Resident Dead After Taser Shot

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A 95-year-old woman passed away a week after being shot with a stun gun by a police officer in a nursing home. 

Clare Nowland, a resident of Yallambee Lodge nursing home in Cooma, Australia, died on Wednesday, May 24. 

Constable Kristian White, 33, used a stun gun on Nowland, who had dementia, leading to her hospitalization since May 17 due to a skull fracture caused by her fall after the stun gun’s impact. 

White will appear in court on July 5 to face charges including recklessly causing grievous physical harm, assault causing actual bodily harm, and general assault. The charges, announced by New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb on Wednesday, may be upgraded due to Nowland’s death.

The incident at Yallambee Lodge, known for its specialized care for high-needs residents, including those with dementia, took place after staff called the police when Nowland obtained a serrated steak knife from the kitchen. Constable White tasered Nowland as she was advancing towards him with her walker, carrying the knife.

This incident involving an elderly and vulnerable woman has sparked a national discussion regarding the use of stun guns by police in similar situations and the competence of staff in aged care facilities. While police are authorized to use stun guns when lives are in danger, the case has brought up questions about the appropriateness of such measures when dealing with elderly individuals.

The cause of Nowland’s death will be determined by a coroner. The police maintain that her injuries were due to the fall, not the Taser’s electric charge. Since the incident, Constable White has been on suspension with pay and under internal investigation.

Police have chosen not to release body camera footage of the incident to the public. Meanwhile, the current Australian government has pledged additional resources to improve aged care services.

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