Elderly woman tasered by NSW police in Cooma, Sydney is expected to die, was making toast

A 95-year-old great grandmother fighting for her life after being tasered by police is believed to have been making toast with a butter knife at 4am at her nursing home in NSW, it can be revealed.

Dementia sufferer Claire Nowland, who is 157cm tall and weighs 43 kilograms, was understood to be making a snack in the communal kitchen of Yallambee Lodge near Cooma in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Community advocate Andrew Thaler told Daily Mail Australia on Friday that Ms Nowland is receiving end of life care and her family is gathered around her, expecting that she will pass away.   

Mr Thaler said Ms Nowland had ‘two holes in her chest’ from the prongs or barbs from the Taser fired by police from a distance – as questions are raised about the forcefulness of the response.

Bodycam footage of the incident has not been released by  NSW Police.

Clare Nowland, who has suffered with dementia, was injured during ‘an interaction’ with officers at Yallambee Lodge near Cooma

Cops were called to the nursing home (pictured) after being told she had a kitchen knife. Ms Nowland was tasered while standing next to her walking frame

Cops were called to the nursing home (pictured) after being told she had a kitchen knife. Ms Nowland was tasered while standing next to her walking frame

Mr Thaler said Ms Nowland’s family had proposed that their beloved oldest member could simply have been making toast in one of the Yallambee kitchens equipped for residents  to make snacks.

‘She could have wanting to make toast with a bread and butter knife, she’s confused. Her family is just incredulous (at what happened),’ he said. 

He said the family has questioned whether she had been tasered twice as she also had marks on her back, and that the facility was not properly staffed to care for patients with dementia.

He believed there may have been just two carers on duty at 4am for 40 patients in five houses and there was ‘a lack of training and for some of these workers, English is not their first language, they may have panicked’.

He said funding for dementia care to be installed at Yallambee had not been passed by the Snowy Monaro Regional Council, but was vitally needed. 

NSW Police would only say that Ms Nowland, who has suffered with dementia, was injured during ‘an interaction’ with officers. 

Mr Thaler challenged NSW Police Commissioner  Karen Webb to travel to Cooma and sit down with Ms Nowland’s family for the difficult task of watching the police bodycam of the incident.

Cops were called to the nursing home early on Wednesday after being told Ms Nowland had a kitchen knife and tasered her as she stood next to her walking frame.

It’s believed officers had struggled to disarm her before pulling out their tasers and firing at her back and chest.

Ms Nowland, who was well known in the local community and is believed to have been at the facility for about five years, collapsed and sustained critical injuries.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Josh Pallas said police shouldn’t be using tasers on vulnerable people experiencing dementia or a mental health crisis.

‘Surely, there must be more appropriate ways to deal with non-compliant people who are suffering,’ he said.

According to NSW Police guidelines, an officer can use a stun gun when violent resistance is occurring or is imminent or when an officer is in danger of being overpowered.

The Snowy Monaro Regional Council, which runs Yallambee Lodge, said staff had followed procedure.

‘Council are supporting our staff, residents, and families during this difficult time,’ the council said in a statement.

NSW Police have launched a critical incident investigation to examine the responding officers’ actions. The investigation will be subject to independent review.

Yallambee Lodge is a 40-bed facility designed for people who can no longer look after themselves in their own homes, according to the council’s website.

Ms Nowland, who was well known in the local community and is believed to have been at the facility for about five years, collapsed and sustained critical injuries

Ms Nowland, who was well known in the local community and is believed to have been at the facility for about five years, collapsed and sustained critical injuries

President of People with Disability Australia Nicole Lee said it was a ‘shocking’ incident.

‘She’s either one hell of an agile, fit, fast and intimidating 95-year-old woman, or there’s a very poor lack of judgement on those police officers and there really needs to be some accountability on their side of this,’ Ms Lee said.

‘This woman, an older woman of 95, she needed somebody to de-escalate the situation with her and to talk to her, and to handle her with compassion and time and not tasers.’

Andrew Thaler called on Commissioner Webb to personally explain to Ms Nowland’s family what happened, and to apologise.

‘The country is rightly outraged,’ he said.

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