SYDNEY: In a deeply distressing turn of events, an Australian police officer has been charged with manslaughter for the tragic death of a 95-year-old great-grandmother, Clare Nowland.
The incident, which occurred in May this year, unfolded in a nursing home and left the nation in shock.
Clare Nowland, a dementia patient, reportedly encountered the police during a confrontation at the nursing home. The 33-year-old senior constable, responding to a call about Nowland’s agitation in the early morning hours, allegedly confronted her as she approached him with the aid of her walking frame.
In a distressing account, it is claimed that the officer warned her to stop, but then callously remarked, “nah bugger it” before deploying a taser.
According to police statements, Nowland, who weighed a mere 43 kilograms (95 pounds) at the time and was described as “frail,” was wielding a steak knife. The nursing home staff had alerted the authorities, reporting that she was “armed with a knife.”
Initially facing charges of assault, the officer now faces the more severe charge of manslaughter following discussions with prosecutors. The tragic aftermath of the incident saw Nowland sustaining a fractured skull after falling to the ground. She succumbed to her injuries in the hospital one week later.
Clare Nowland, a great-grandmother with 24 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren, became the centre of a heart-breaking episode that has ignited public outcry and intensified discussions surrounding the use of force in situations involving vulnerable individuals.