The charges against the NSW police officer who verbally abused Clare Nowland at an aged care facility could be upgraded following the death of the 95-year-old great-grandmother on Wednesday night.
Nowland’s death came just hours after it was announced that police officer Kristian White, 33, had been charged with negligent aggravated assault, assault with actual assault and aggravated assault.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: An officer involved in a Taser incident is likely to face charges.
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White shocked Nowland with his taser a week before her death, reportedly causing her to fall, cracking her head and sustaining life-threatening injuries. She received end-of-life care at Cooma District Hospital until her death.
New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb told reporters on Wednesday night it was “possible” the police officer’s charges would be upgraded after the woman’s death.
White is scheduled to appear in Cooma Magistrates Court on July 5 while the coroner determines exactly what killed Nowland.
Criminal defense attorney Peter Lavac criticized the handling of the case on Sunrise, claiming a manslaughter charge was “completely inadequate”.
“Each police office has the power of life and death. They’ve got a gun on their hip, they’ve got a taser on their belt – and make no mistake, mate, a taser is just as deadly and lethal as a gun.
“This cop needs to be charged with murder.”
Staff at the Nowland nursing home called police on May 17 after the mother of eight, who uses a walker and weighs 43kg, was allegedly holding a steak knife.
When they arrived, she approached them “at a slow pace,” said NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Peter Cotter.
The charge against Kristian White will likely be escalated to manslaughter following Nowland’s death. Photo credit: SunriseGrandmother Clare Nowland is remembered by family and friends for her incredible life. Photo credit: AAP
Bodycam footage of the incident was not made publicly available and New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb was criticized on Sunrise this week for her decision not to watch the incident to ensure an impartial outcome.
But the words, which White reportedly uttered shortly before his taser attack on Nowland, have been made public. The Daily Telegraph claimed a female police officer first said: “I can take it (the knife) from her.”
White reportedly threw in the taser as a warning, but it went unheeded before reportedly saying “no fuck it” and then berating Nowland.
7NEWS.com.au contacted NSW Police to confirm the claims but were told: “As this is an ongoing investigation into a critical incident it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Kevin Dunne, a longtime friend of Nowland, told 7NEWS about her kind and generous nature.
“She wasn’t just a woman of faith, she was a woman of action.”
“She was helping people pay their bills, their phone bills and things like that, and she’s just been a wonderful asset to our community.”
Dunne said Nowland was an inspiration to him and recalled her time as President of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Cooma.
He expressed how important family was to Nowland, who herself was one of 12 children and a mother of eight. She was often visited at the aged care facility where she lived, Dunne said.
“I just feel very privileged to have met her in my life,” Dunne said.
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