In a shocking development in Australia, a senior constable has been charged with manslaughter after allegedly Tasering a 95-year-old woman at Yallambee Lodge nursing home in southern New South Wales. The woman, Clare Nowland, who had 24 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren, was reportedly armed with a steak knife and advancing on the officer with the aid of her walking frame when the Taser was deployed.
A Taser Incident Turned Tragic
The incident unfolded in the early hours of May 17 when the officer, identified as Senior Constable Kristian White, was responding to a report of a woman brandishing a knife. In the confrontation, Nowland, who was living with dementia, was said to be approaching the officer slowly, using her walking frame. Nowland was warned to stop before the officer reportedly uttered 'nah b****r it' and fired his Taser.
The Taser shock caused Nowland, who weighed just 43kg (95 pounds) and was described by police as 'frail,' to fall and fracture her skull. She spent a week in the hospital with critical injuries before she passed away.
Manslaughter Charge Follows Initial Assault Charges
The 33-year-old officer, White, was initially charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault. However, after discussions with prosecutors, the charges were upgraded to manslaughter. The NSW Police confirmed this in a statement, adding that White, who remains suspended from duty with pay, will appear at the Cooma Local Court on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.
The incident, which resulted in the death of a great-grandmother and sent shockwaves through the community, is now a case of manslaughter. As legal proceedings move forward, it serves as a stark reminder of the potential lethality of police force and the need for restraint and careful judgment in law enforcement.