New details about moments leading up to great-grandmother's alleged Tasering
An officer allegedly asked great-grandmother Clare Nowland to "stop" several times during negotiations with her to drop a steak knife before saying "bugger it" as he was deploying his taser.
The new police allegations come after the 95-year-old great-grandmother died last night, after being rushed to the Cooma Base Hospital from the Yallambee Lodge in the NSW Snowy Mountains on May 18.
Not long before Nowland died, surrounded by her family, police charged Senior Constable Kristian White with three offences including recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.
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Police will allege Nowland, who used a walking frame, was holding a steak knife when the officer said "stop" several times, and "drop it".
It's the police case that the 95-year-old – who suffers from dementia – then raised the knife to chest height in the direction of his colleague. The senior constable asked her to stop before allegedly saying "bugger it" as he deployed the taser.
White – who is suspended with pay – is charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault.
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"He is very distressed. He's concerned for not only his own welfare but the welfare of all people involved in this matter," White's lawyer Warwick Anderson said.
"I don't think that there's any dispute that on his way to this job in his wildest dreams it would unfold in the way it may have," he said.
"He was at home in bed shortly before he got called out to attend a nursing home and I don't think that there's any dispute that on his way to this job in his wildest dreams it would unfold in the way it may have."
His client will be defending the charges.
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"At this stage I'd anticipate he would enter a plea of not guilty – all of these matters will be reviewed when a brief of evidence is received," Anderson said.
9News understands the charges could be upgraded to manslaughter, but investigators will have to wait until the results of an autopsy, as they need to prove the tasering caused the injuries which led to Nowland's death.
Today, friends remembered the 95-year-old as a much-loved member of her community who adored her family.
"I've just noticed up at St Patrick's Church the flag is at half mast which really says to all of us, even if you didn't know her, she was really important to this community," Cooma local Mike Evans said.
Nowland was a mother to eight, grandmother to 24 and great-grandmother to 31.
Friend Kevin Dunne often visited Nowland at her nursing home and admired her faith in God and her commitment to being a volunteer.
"With Clare the thing that struck me the most was her love of her family," Dunne said.
"She's left a wonderful legacy, I think they'll all be inspired by the example of her life."