CANBERRA, Australia – A 95-year-old Australian woman died on Wednesday, a week after a police officer shot her at a nursing home as he approached her using a walker and carrying a knife, in a tragedy that outraged many Australians.
Clare Nowland, who suffered from mental illness, was hospitalized in Cooma in New South Wales after suffering a fractured skull in a fall on May 17 after Constable Kristian White. they surprised him with a stun gun.
Police announced Nowland’s death hours after White was ordered to appear in court on July 5 on charges of reckless endangerment, assault causing actual bodily harm, and simple assault. The fee is expected to be raised after his death.
White and another police officer went to Yallambee Lodge, a nursing home in Cooma which houses people with advanced needs including mental illness, after staff reported Mr Nowland had taken a kitchen knife from the kitchen.
The abuse of an elderly and disabled woman has sparked a national debate about police use of stun guns in such situations and the skills of care workers. Police are allowed to use guns if lives are in danger.
The coroner will determine the cause of death. Police say his injuries were caused by a fall to the ground, not by the electrical shock of a Taser-brand stun gun.
White has been under an internal police investigation since the incident and has been suspended with pay since Tuesday.
White and his fellow officer on the day have footage of the incident from their body cameras, but police have refused to release it.
The government that was elected last year is increasing support for the elderly.