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Police officer charged with manslaughter after tasering 95-year-old

By Agence France-Presse Published Nov 29, 2023 8:21 am

An Australian police officer was charged with manslaughter Wednesday, Nov. 29 after allegedly tasering a 95-year-old great-grandmother who later died in hospital. 

Dementia patient Clare Nowland died in May this year, following a nursing home confrontation with police that shocked Australians and made international headlines. 

She was allegedly shot with an electric stun gun as she slowly approached the officer with the assistance of her walking frame. 

Police said she was brandishing a steak knife in one of her hands.  

The 33-year-old senior constable, who was called to the nursing home after Nowland became agitated in the early hours of the morning, allegedly warned her to stop before saying "nah bugger it" and firing the taser.

Nowland reportedly weighed 43 kilograms (95 pounds) at the time, and police would later describe her as "frail."

Police had previously charged the officer with various counts of assault, but added the more serious manslaughter charge on Wednesday after speaking with prosecutors. 

Officers had been called to Yallambee Lodge nursing home in southern New South Wales by staff who told them that a woman was "armed with a knife."

Nowland—who had 24 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren—fractured her skull after falling to the ground, dying in hospital one week later. (AFP)