The family of a frail 95-year-old woman who died after being tasered by a cop have spoken out, demanding answers over the ‘unfathomable’ way in which they lost the beloved great-grandma.
Their emotional message comes as a former senior police negotiator shone light on the last critical 60 seconds of Clare Nowland’s life.
Nowland weighed just 43 kilograms when an officer discharged the ultimately fatal taser at a NSW aged care home while she allegedly held a steak knife.
She died in Cooma hospital on Wednesday night surrounded by family, a week after the incident at the Yallambee Lodge in the Snowy Mountains.
Clare Nowland (l) with her granddaughter, Kylie Paske. Picture: Facebook
Nowland’s granddaughter, Kylie Paske, told 7 News the family were still in shock about the death of a woman who “had love for everybody”.
“Nanna had a heart bigger than anyone … she cared for all walks of life; she didn’t judge.”
Ms Paske added: “You don’t think you’re going to wake up to your grandmother being tasered”.
“The circumstances she’s passed away in are unfathomable … I’m sure investigators and what not will get answers – because we’ve all got questions”.
Ms Nowland skydived to celebrate her 80th birthday in 2008. Picture: ABC News
Nowland, who went skydiving for her 80th birthday, reportedly has eight children, 24 grandkids and 31 great-great children.
She was known to volunteer for various causes.
The allegedly responsible officer, Senior Constable Kristian White, has been charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault.
According to the Saturday Telegraph, the interactions between Mr White and Ms Nowland are believed to have played out within a minute.
Ms Paske said the family wanted answers about the incident. Picture: 7 News
It will be alleged Mr White allegedly asked Ms Nowland to “stop” several times during negotiations with her to drop the knife, before saying: “Oh bugger it”.
A moment later, the 33-year-old allegedly deployed the taser.
Those 60 seconds will be crucial to proving the allegations against Mr White, which he reportedly intends to defend.
A former police negotiator with 20 years’ experience told the newspaper he didn’t use a taser once in the two decades spent in the job.
“This is an issue across the board, that some people think a taser is an easy option, but it’s not an easy option,” he said.
“You have to think about the consequences of someone falling over (and) the effect that can have”.
The ex-cop said police must take a “good look” at their training systems around tasers, risk assessments and mental health training.
Ms Nowland was described by family as a loving, generous person. Picture: Facebook
Aged care staff called emergency services to the aged care home about 4.15am after Ms Nowland, who had advanced dementia, was found holding the steak knife.
Ms Nowland was approaching the officers at a “slow pace” while assisted by a walking frame when the taser was fired, according to NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter.
Police allege she was still armed with the knife when they arrived at the aged care facility.
She was taken to Cooma Hospital while “in and out of consciousness”, before receiving end-of-life care.
NSW Police have come under heavy scrutiny in the wake of the incident, with its police commissioner, Karen Webb, saying it’s not yet known why the confrontation was handled in that way by officers.
“We don’t know why the aged care facility called police in the first place,” she said on the Today Show.
“Police officers are trained in a number of tactical options to use the least amount of force”.
“Until we actually understand why, we won’t really know.”
She said bodycam footage of the incident alone did not lead to the charging of the officer, but rather “all the evidence”, including witness statements and expert testimony.
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Ms Nowland’s family have previously thanked the public for their support and described the ordeal as a “worrying and distressing time”.
Mr White remains suspended with pay as investigations continue.